Sunday, September 30, 2007

Potpouri II

Saturday was such a lovely day. It began, as many days do, a couple of days before. On Thursday the clouds left for the first time in over two weeks, and I got to see the harvest moon after all. Sitting at my computer, with the breathless beauty of the full moon shining, and almost total silence from the open window. Friday the sky was a heart gripping blue that cheered the spirt and allowed the temperature to drop into the 40s, so that when I left for breakfast on Saturday morning amid full-on rain, the mountain tops were cold enough that by 9:45, as I was sitting on the bench in front of A & P* watching the ravens in the parking lot, talking to children I know as they went into the store, and waiting for the Care-A-Van to come and pick me and my groceries up and take us home, the rain had stopped and the clouds had lifted. And I could see snow on the very tops of Mount Roberts, Mount Juneau, and across the channel on Mount Jumbo.

My trip to A & P had made me appreciate living in a small town and knowing my neighbors. There is a woman here who looks like a friend of mine from my Fairbanks days, and so I have noticed and talked to her over the years. I have watched her sons grow from two tiny guys in '93 to two well behaved and handsome teens. Today they were in A & P and the younger son came over to me and asked if I had heard from my friend who looks like his mother lately. Told me who his teachers are and what sports he wants to play.

There were Alice, age six, who I held when she was 4 days old, and her younger brother, Jonathan, who had to show me the carnival squash their great-grandmother was buying. And, there was their great-grandmother.

I was having trouble with my back today, and when I was at the deli counter I leaned against the case to ease it. The young man who was waiting on me noticed that I wasn't doing so well, and instead of handing me my chicken over the top, where I would have had to stretch, he walked it around and put it in my cart. When I got to the check-out, the clerk remembered that I'm now sales tax exempt** and asked me for my number -- a good thing, because when I'm in pain I forget to give it to her. The young woman who was bagging remembered that I need anything the Hooligans would get into put into one "cat bait" bag, along with whatever has to be refrigerated, so that I can put that away as soon as I get home and then sit down and rest my back if I need to. It's nice when people know you and care about what you need.

When we got home, I went up the stairs first, to unlock the door. And when I got to the landing half way up, there was a redwing sitting there looking stunned. As I got closer, he turned his bright little eye toward me but otherwise didn't move. I waited, wanting make sure that the Care-A-Van driver knew he was there and didn't step on him or get startled at the last minute and drop a bag of groceries on him. While I waited I talked to him quietly. By the time Robert was loaded with grocery bags and reached me on the landing, Sweetie shook his head, took a tottery step, and flew away. As we went up rest of the stairs, we could see a small, gold feather on my window.

As always, sitting for about 15 minutes*** eliminated the pain in my back, and I spent the rest of the day watching the first four segments of Ken Burns' The War that I had recorded from PBS. And reading. The only thing that put a little rain on my parade came when I was reading. When I lived with people, I seldom turned on the TV unless there was something that I wanted to watch, but now that it's just me, I like to have CHCH**** on when I read. And for some strange reason, for the first time since I moved here in 1993, they were playing songs! Songs from the 30s and 40s. I find it hard to read when someone is singing. I can totally tune out talking and not even know there are people in the room, but singing cuts right through my defenses. I tried turning the volume down, but that just left me straining to hear the words. In order to get back in my comfort zone, I had to mute the sound and put Mozart on the CD player. And since I didn't want to get up and change the CD all the time, I had it on repeat. That gets just a little boring.

* Not, like on the east coast, Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, but Alaskan and Proud. Except for their produce department, which too often is the A & A, Alaskan and (Should Be) Ashamed.

** That's because I'm 65.

*** After I'd put the cat bait away.

****CHCH is "the Channel channel," so called because it is a public access channel that has a camera mounted over the Gastineau Channel and plays classical music. It's nice to have the music on when I read, and better than the radio because there is no talking at all. No commercials. No commentator. Just classical music. If I look up, there is a lovely scene in front of me. During tourist season***** I can watch helicopters take off to deliver tourists to the glacier for a sled dog ride. The rest of the year I may see people fishing on the shore, various small boats, birds, or just the clouds.

***** Just ended. No more cruise ships in the harbor dwarfing all of our buildings. No more crowds of people on the streets totally oblivious to the fact that this isn't Disneyland and cars actually drive here. No more groups of tourists stopping just in front of you under the awning to talk over what they are going to do next, forcing residents to walk out into the rain and the street to get back to the office after lunch.


Angela said...

Great documentary by Ken Burns. So good to know people are looking out for you.

John Eaton said...

Lovely, just lovely.

We nod to the northwest and send gull songs from the southeast,

John :)

J at said...

I'm glad you had such a good day, filled with caring people. :)