Chet Baker hangs close and is as sweet as a biscuit with honey but it's her I want, her fusty feathery smell and the soft doeskin of her cheeks, it's her scratchy voice and her golden-eyed crazy glance and her bobbing head, her special bird consciousness, that I want. And nothing in me understands why I can't have that any more, now or forever. It is a grief and loss so specific that there is nothing that will fix it, spackle over it, but time.
Over the last week, I've channeled a great deal of this fiercely focused longing into fighting that hideous travesty of a "festival" called Snapperfest. The one where people feel a need to throw and yank snapping and soft-shelled turtles around in order to have fun. Hundreds of gallons of Bud Light and a good dash of animal abuse. Bring the kids!
And though Monday was one of those rare seventyish days with high puffy white and gray clouds and blue sky and a lulling cricket and katydid chorus, one of those days that starts in the fifties and never gets to the eighties, one of those days that should be spent messing about in a boat, I never looked up, not once, until 3 pm. I wrote and wrote and wrote and researched and consulted with my best herpetological and clear-thinking life experts and came up with a letter I think might give the State of Indiana pause about this awful thing going on down in its southeast groin near the beautifully named town of Rising Sun. Channeling, that's what it was, channeling the pointless, aimless grief and loss toward trying to ease the suffering of some unfortunate turtles that a bunch of people thought nobody would care about. That nobody did know or care about for fifteen freaking years. Well, wrong. Thousands of people the world over turn out to care about snapping turtles, thousands and thousands more than anyone thought. Once they know about them, that is. And to me that is a beautiful thing, and it fills my heart. Part of my heart. The part that doesn't include the hole a crazy small green macaw chewed right into it.
Monday morning I spoke with Ann Fisher, my friend who has a lovely program called All Sides on WOSU Columbus. We didn't have a long time, what with a big segment on the possible repeal of our spiffy new law eliminating collective bargaining for public employees, but what time we had we used well. Here is a link to the program, and I come in about halfway through the show. And now for something completely different...from Republican Senator Shannon Jones telling us how great Senate Bill 5 is for teachers and firefighters, to me, barely holding myself together as I remember a quirky little bird. If you want, you can hear me fighting back tears as I talk about what Charlie meant to me, and what it means to enter a lifetime pact with a large psittacine. If you want. I wouldn't blame you if you didn't want; if you would rather go outside and look at big puffy white and gray clouds in a clear blue sky.