I live in a tiny part of a not so tiny city. Less than a mile away there is a beautiful park, scarred with burn marks from a tossed cigarette. There is a zoo nestled in between tall, peeling eucalyptus trees and a makeshift train yard full of real train cars for us to climb all over. Red headed woodpeckers fly over our heads while coyotes watch you from the shadows of the shrubbery. You can hear the quick whizz of cyclists whipping down the hills outfitted in their superhero biking gear, children bouncing around in giant inflatable castles, frenzied beat tempos of a drum circle or two, the cat-like cries of the peacocks that have escaped from the zoo and the low rush-rush-rushing of the speeding cars along the freeway that is just on the other side of the tall-tall trees.
There is city life all around us. As I sit and type this I can hear the annoying honk, honk, honking of a car alarm, the rush, rush, rush of traffic just around the corner, an airplane flying over head and the voices of the neighbors all around me. I take a deep breath, close my eyes and listen some more. I hear the wind tinkling against the wind chimes outside our front door, the territorial screech of a mocking bird, the bee-like buzzing of a hummingbird, the show-offy song of a bird I cannot name and an entire orchestra of chirps, twitters and cheeps. I open my eyes and look out over the computer to see what is outside the window and I see the pine trees across the way swaying in the breeze, a pair of white cabbage moths fluttering by, and a gold finch perched atop a sprig of french lavender. There is country life all around us if we stop to take a look.
I don't feel like spring is truly here until I hear the woodpecker pecking the telephone pole or I see that the bees have returned to the garden. So far, the woodpecker hasn't returned but the bees are out there. I hear them zip by my ears and watch them party in the spanish lavender. I can watch them for a long, long time. I do. I will sit on the back stoop and watch the bees buzz, bounce and bob all around me. I listen to the birds and try to figure out which call is coming from which bird. I stoop to pet Bug, my neighbor's cat, as he throws himself at my legs. I love this small patch of wonder we have all around us. When I am feeling overwhelmed and "on the verge", I simply sit outside on the porch, back step or in the garden. I walk from plant to plant and sniff away if the nose is working or touch the leaves if it's not. I search for bugs, mushrooms & spiders and hum to myself. It helps me to feel centered, touching what is around me. Sometimes this world seems so huge, so vast. I feel lost and alone. Then, there are times when the wonder of it all makes me feel whole. Today I got to witness something wonderful and amazing. It involved a spider and it may seem freakish or not so wonderful to you but to me, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I got to experience it. We are spider people in the tiny casa. We don't kill them (well, most of them), we move around them or if they are alarming or huge, we put them outside. Today, when I was washing the dishes I noticed a spider in the fruit bowl. I took a look and said hello and continued with my task. After a while I noticed she was still in the fruitbowl and I took a closer look to find that she was laying her eggs. A spider was laying eggs in my fruitbowl! I spent the next fifteen minutes watching this amazing and wonderful sight. She's still there, slowly wrapping her nest with her soft silk, taking a breather every once in awhile. Sometimes this world seems so huge, so vast, I feel lost and alone. Not today my friends, not today.