Saturday, February 10, 2007
farewell old friend
Our 16-year old cockatiel Rainbo passed peacefully, this afternoon. He'd been increasingly geriatric, and we'd seen the end coming about a month ago, as he visited the vet, and the vet diagnosed good health but inevitable aging, and advised us to "keep him warm" and "make him comfortable; he's just an old man." We'd had him all the years of his life, well from the time he was about 10 weeks old, anyway. Acquired as a companion for our other bird Gemini, he went on to become my husband's beloved buddy, to father 3 clutches of babies with Gem, and to cross the country twice and the Pacific once. In the words of a friend, he was a bird with a profound lust for life. He outlived 2 other cockatiels, Gemini and the above-pictured whitefaced Buffy, and had no caution or fear of dogs. Cricket's arrival into the household last year meant a curtailment of his freedom, which considerably affected the quality of his life, I think.
I buried him in our garden, under the Surinam Cherry tree, by our outside altar. Sad, I am, but at peace, too, as he lived a long, rich, full life.
Where have I been? Nursing a cold, burying myself in Martin Cruz Smith's latest Arkady Renko novel, working ferociously, dog training, providing bird hospice, knitting a blue sock for Project Spectrum,seeing movies and generally living pretty well. With the new year, and the new moon, and Imbolc, I experienced a little shift in how I feel about being here. It's hard to explain, but I'll try. For months, really since last winter, I had been operating with this feeling just below the surface (and often not disguised at all) of just marking time here, until we moved back to the mainland. Now I moved here 18 months ago, knowing (as I knew about my Virginia life) that this would probably not be a permanent residence for me, but rather, a place we'd live for 5-6 years. In VA, I hurled myself into that place and life, and became rooted, absorbed, enthralled. Many factors contributed to that situation, and how it worked for me there. Hawaii has been a difficult adjustment for me, and part of me has fought it, stubbornly seeing it as my temporary way station til I got back to someplace with 4 distinct seasons, better yarn stores, a friendlier dog culture, yadayadayada. But with my sister's departure in early January, I started to see things a little differently. I made a resolution to more consciously live "in my life" here, rather than to be always wishing and pining for somewhere else. It IS where I live, now, after all, and while I may miss and love other places, Oahu has to be home for me now. No sooner than I had made this decision to commit to my life here, than it was tested a few weeks ago. At Mocha Java, as I sat with the Aloha Knitters, a drunken, irate touristy-kine guy came in, looking for a club called Rumors. When informed that it wasn't at Ward Center, he griped loudly that he'd just wasted a $15 taxi fare, and called Hawaii a "fuckin' third-world country." Immediately, I felt a rush of defensiveness, how dare he call OUR island a third-world country?! HA! How many times have I uttered that same phrase? Now truth be told, I have lived and traveled in the third world, and I don't like to loosely use that phrase, really, it's usually used in a pejorative, sweepingly dismissive and generalistic way, but I'm afraid that sometimes, in dealing with certain arcanely bureaucratic and colonial holdover institutions here, the slipper fits a little too well to be called much else.
It was the momentary sense of protectiveness, the offended pride, that made me feel weirdly as if, for a moment, I belonged.
So I've tried to taste the rainbow a little more deliberately. To go to the beach more often. To enjoy our low-sixties nights and call them "cold". To admire the stars I never saw in too-urban Arlington and count myself lucky to live here. Paradise? Absolutely not. But a nice place to be, nevertheless.