In a state


I live in one of the most beautiful states in the world. I live and work in California, and I have never not had a job in this state since the age of 13. Quite a remarkable feat for someone who grew up on welfare cheese and was the last of eight children from podunk Redding, CA. In my humble home 15 minutes away from San Francisco, I have arrived, and I have no aspirations to rise any further. My ugly but growing on me wallpaper, my unpainted walls, and the backyard that does what it wants is all I really need. Well, I am taking a bird watching trip to Cairo, Egypt, next year, so maybe I can die after that. In any case, I am well-fed, have a roof over my head, and I have people that love me. I need no more than that.

For those of you that have read my blog all along, you will remember that my sister, Robin, died in 1990 – at the hands (really, gun) of her boyfriend. He later died in prison, of HIV/AIDs.

Every time I see a Robin in any tree, I say “Hi, Robin” and I am happy. Hi, sister.

My sister taught me how to ride horses, and to respect their energy. When I see the breast of a quarter horse or the breast of the Robin, I am drawn to the beauty of that warm color, the horse’s soft muzzle, and the Robin’s beautiful song. My sister’s hair was the color of a Robins’ breast, and I cannot see that bird without seeing her. Her wide hips, the flip of her hair, her commanding presence above us all. Gone at 29.

In the parking lot where I work, sometimes I’ll be sitting in a conference room, post-meeting, and I will hear the sound of a lone Robin in the plum trees outside the window. I never have to strain, he is so loud and clear. I doubt it is the same Robin, but maybe one that has passed on to his ancestors that the best way to call for a mate is from the rooftops overlooking the non-native Eucalyptus that are forced to live above the cars. I leave early, before sundown, to catch the last of his soliloquy. The weight of the sun and breeze rest on me. Let me comb my red breast, deep breath.

2 thoughts on “In a state

  1. Sarah says:

    Nice tribute to your sis. I lost mine last year, when she was just 46. I’m still in the place where too many things remind me of her, but hope to narrow it down to a smaller list like robins and quarter horses one of these days. Thanks for sharing! (In case you are curious, I’m a friend of Pam on Facebook and followed a comment of yours to this blog.)

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