The rocker

First, the light.

More of it each day. Driving the darkness away with its gentle appearing, rousing bright-eyed birds earlier and earlier, which respond in uninhibited chirps, songs, chatter. New day new day new day day day …

It’s a beautiful time to be alive. To be reborn. To mark having been born.

“What do you want for your birthday?” asked my husband.

“New rocking chairs.”

I’d been thinking on it.

The old chairs on the front porch are cracked, broken, portions held in place with wood glue. Time for them to go. Time for new ones. I want to sit outside in the light, in the breeze, even though it remains oddly chilly, to hear the birds, to see Papa Finch alight on the roof. I hear him before I see him; I wonder what his loud twitter means but I always answer, “Hi Finch!” Then there he is, tiny brown creature with his chest faintly dusted red, sitting high above the garage against the cloudless blue sky, looking directly at me. The porch is part of his domain. Sometimes from inside the house I hear his loud chirp; looking through the window, I find him sitting on the white porch rail. I suspect he’s eyeing the front door wreath for his bride’s nest. Although I took the wreath down for the winter, I’d left the old nest from last year attached. With the coming of March, and with great care, I put the faded, bird-loved wreath back in hopes that the nest would be reused. It hasn’t. So I removed it to make way for new.

Like my rocking chairs.

When my granddaughter visits now, it’s only on the front steps for a while, until the coronavirus social distancing expires. She comes with eyes full of spring light, as blue as the sky above my finch, who never fails to join our gathering and to add his voice to the conversation.

“That’s a loud bird!” says my granddaughter, age four.

“He is. Look, there he is, on the roof. Hi, Finch!”

And in these bright little moments, I revel in the poetry of life, that this bird (I wonder if he was one of the previous hatchlings from my wreath? ) should be a mainstay. Especially as my granddaughter’s name is Scout. Yes, from To Kill a Mockingbird. Whose last name was … Finch.

I want sturdy chairs on the porch, for resting. As a place to quiet my mind with the greenness of the grass in the yard and over where the path leads round the pond through greener trees. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul … To share with my granddaughter as she grows, to have coffee with my husband who almost didn’t live to see another spring. To celebrate living, being, enduring. To converse with generations of finches who’ve chosen to make my home theirs. To know, as evening falls, and I must go in, that I savored the gifts of that day to their fullest, their deepest.

My husband bought the chairs.

“We’ll put the old ones on the back deck,” he told me.

I wanted to say Why, they’re held together with glue, they’ll last maybe three days out there with no shelter, let’s just throw them away. But I didn’t. He wants to keep them, for some reason …

Truth is, the old chairs look kind of nice on the back deck by the flowerpots. For ever how long they last out there.

It was the rocker nearest the kitchen that made me realize.

Thump thump. Thump thump.

Dennis the dachshund woke from his sleep in a patch of sun-stripes at the back door. Ears perked.

“What is that?” I asked him from my chair at the kitchen table, where I was typing on the laptop.

Rising, looking through the window.

The rocker, rocking all by itself.

Thump thump. Thump thump.

The other rocker opposite sat motionless.

The wind, I thought.

Second thought: Why this rocker and not the other?

Third thought: Is the windor something — IN that chair?

It reminded me that I’ve always wanted to write a collection of ghost stories. An incongruous thought on such a bright, gold-green day.

Then.

How have I missed it?

For all the weeks—months—of the wind’s extended gusting and moaning under the eaves, unlike I’ve ever heard it before, I failed to notice it had stopped. All through the COVID crisis it’s been a grieved entity, swirling around my house in desperation, haunting my spirit with its voice, agitating the tall pines.

It’s still here, as my rocking chair can attest. But subdued.

Perhaps the wind has decided to sit a spell and rest. Perhaps the rocker was an invitation.

I am not sure we are friendly, yet, the wind and I, but I will offer it hospitality as long as it’s a benevolent guest. Is it taking up residence here, like the finches?

Perhaps I will take my coffee out there one afternoon and ask—begging the wind’s pardon, of course—why it cried so long and so hard.

But as I have no wish to stir anything up, maybe I’ll just let the wind rock to its heart’s content, in peace.

7 thoughts on “The rocker

  1. There is so much to love about this slice. The finch “Hi Finch,” your granddaughter’s blue eyes, the sturdy chairs, the “thump” “thump,” the crying of the wind, “poetry of life.” You are an observant writer, and I am in awe of how you communicate your observations. Thanks for this today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Setting aside the old to make way for the new is a difficult thing, and doing away with the old is even harder. I’m glad you’ve chosen to keep the old rockers for as long as they last, and it brings a smile to my face to think about the wind enjoying them even if no one else can. Oh, what the wind has seen.

    The connection between your granddaughter and the finches was beautiful to read about as well. I’m confident that will be a source of joy for decades to come.

    Enjoy your porch–spring is finally coming to the south!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do think about where the wind has been and what it’s seen, especially as it moaned for so long here, like something out of a Gothic novel. I hope it stays calm and enjoys relaxing in my old rocker.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A collection of ghost stories sounds fun! Items moving as a result of a breeze or spirit is something seen in horror movies that always gives a creepy feel that I love. 😂 Enjoy your rocking chair and your birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved sitting in a matching rocker and listening to your story. I almost expected the finch to be rocking. Your writing follows a thread that weaves in and out, intriguing and capturing the imagination.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just read your post a second time. You had me with the connection and love for your 4 year old granddaughter, Scout Finch and then brought me to tears with tale of your rocking chairs that have taken on the C-19 fight, I suspect, on your back deck. If nothing else, I am sure you are being watched and protected by guardian angels. I’ve always wanted to write about guardian angels….thank you for a post I will be thinking about for a while,

    Liked by 1 person

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