“Oh my God!”
Turning from the sink, somewhat startled, I saw Grant staring out of the sliding door.
“The Cooper’s hawk nearly got Red!”
It wasn’t the original Little Red but one of her kind. Maybe Grant’s sudden appearance by the door startled the hawk into flying off.
The squirrel seemed not even to have noticed and continued nibbling its breakfast as I stood watching.
You want to go out and protect them, but the hawk is only doing what it needs to do.
Suddenly the hawk was back. It narrowly missed Red fleeing across the grass and it persued him into the safety of the bushes as I watched with bated breath.
Moments later, I was back at the kitchen window when the hawk swooped over the roof to make another grab, scattering Blue jays that shrieked indignation.
Later, Lily let out one of her howls and rushed to look out the front window and sure enough, the hawk was still out there looking for a meal.
I hope it gets one and I hope I don’t witness it.
After topping up water bowls late yesterday, something sent me to the garage and coming back out I noticed a bee, stranded in a cobweb by the door jamb.
“Oh. What are you doing there?” I said, thinking it dead.
For some reason, I felt compelled to reach out and touch it and I was surprised to see a slight movement.
With a finger nail I was able to free it and I placed it on a rock. Then, not knowing what else to do, I picked a flower to put beside it.
“You shouldn’t interfere!” said Grant when I told him.
“It’s wings will be all messed up from the web and you may have prolonged its anguish.”
When I went back, it was moving about and this morning it was gone, who knows where.
It’s silly, but it seemed as if I was meant to notice the bee and help it.
How many times a day do we fail to notice all manner of things where perhaps it would have made a difference?
How many of the decisions we make every day affect other people in ways we cannot imagine?
How many factors go into making a good decision?
Good for who? How do you balance your choice?
How do you remove emotion from the equation?
Sometimes there are no good decisions. Then you have to go with what seems best.
It is never possible to weigh all the variables in serious decisions and you cannot know how they will play out.
But whatever you decide better be something you can live with.
An unfortunate family situation brought back to me a decision I once made that I would give anything to change.
When I was sixteen I was sent to live with my mother’s sister, Kay. She quickly became my best friend. I adored her. But she was married to a very difficult man.
When they retired, Kay and Ray moved from New York up to a remote town in Maine.
It was actually easier for me to visit my parents in England than it was to get to Kay and Ray.
Years passed and everyone grew old. I had always thought that if my mother died first, my dad would simply “pack it in”.
In retrospect I should have known better, but to cheer him I arranged to take him on holiday in Europe. It was in the planning stages when Ray died.
It was Winter and there could be no funeral until the Spring thaw. The weeks of waiting became intolerable for my aunt. After all the anxiety Ray had caused her, it was as if he still would not let go.
The result was that Kay had a stroke that put her into the home where she had visited him daily, suffering the abuse he heaped on her.
“A minor stroke” they told me, but I went straight away to see what could be sorted out. I was shocked to find that Kay could not walk and she could not talk.
Perhaps she would have recovered, but she was heart-broken over being separated from her dog. It had been allowed to visit but while I was at Ray’s funeral, the dog bit a child that had been teasing it.
Dad’s holiday was coming up. I was taking him to Rome to see a very old friend. I wanted to postpone it. He knew Kay was ill but he said nothing, so I was torn.
It is so simple, looking back, what I should have done.
But I had had a very difficult relationship with my father and I didn’t want the negativity to colour my thoughts about what my duty ought to be.
He was my father. He was very old. He was grieving. What if he died before I could take him to see his friend?
Rubbish. It was all rubbish.
Kay had known about the wretched holiday and she nodded, yes, she understood that I had to go but that I would be back.
She had been saying for many months that she was a burden to me, no matter how often I denied it.
But with the dog gone, I think she decided it was time for her to leave too. So I never got to see her again or hug her or tell her I loved her, or that she was never, ever a nuisance.
After Kay’s funeral, I had about three days to get myself together for my father’s holiday. It was the very last thing in the world I wanted.
In the space of two weeks I had gone from pushing my aunt in a wheelchair to pushing my father in one and what made it so terribly hard was that he never even said he was sorry that I had lost her.
Decisions you have to live with.