Summer is winding down – not that we’ve had much summer here. You should have seen the chickens’ faces when it actually started raining this morning! They are most definitely not ducks, that’s for sure. They stood stock still for a few minutes and then exited stage left for the coop in a big feathered hurry.
This is probably the last summer we’ll have both, or either of the boys at home: Daniel will leave to go back to college week after next, and Taylor is counting down the weeks or months before he heads off to a new job – he’s just wondering which one as a surprise new offer came in the other day.
It doesn’t take Freud to figure out that getting chickens was most likely a heart-jerk reflex to an empty nest. And hey, it’s not all bad- we learned to mostly enjoy having the house to ourselves when Daniel left last fall. It helps to have ninety pounds of Chloe underfoot all the time.
But there’s a niggling emptiness that surges up now and then. Now because I finally logged in to www.pandora.com to try it out and the third song on my playlist (I typed in Joni Mitchell) was James Taylor’s “You Can Close Your Eyes”. This was a major part of my “playlist” when the boys were small and I sang them to sleep every night. So just when I didn’t expect it, here’s that song out of the blue and I’ve got a big lump in my throat.
It’s not sadness, exactly. More of that “passage of time” thing that the Chicken Emperor and I prize certain authors (Willa Cather, especially) for their ability to weave into their stories. A sense that a door has closed to a room I can never re-enter. Was I a good enough mom? Did I leave anything undone? Will they ever talk to me again? Are they ready for the real world? Will they ever learn to make their beds and open the drapes?
Just a moment, and it has passed now, because we’re on to Paul Simon and “Graceland”, which is most definitely nothing I would associate with Joni Mitchell. I’ll never have to worry about preparing the chickens for their future, since I’ve already promised them immunity from the stew pot. No SAT prep. No waiting up late at night for missed curfew. And the only way I can really disappoint them is to walk in the coop without meal worms, a failure that is easily remedied. But there’s nothing like tucking in a three-year-old just after his bath, hair all slicked down and favorite blankie in hand. Can’t go back, but I guess I can still sing to my chickens.
Well the sun is slowly sinking down
But the moon is slowly rising
So this old world must still be spinning round
And I still love you
So close your eyes
You can close your eyes, it’s all right
I don’t know no love songs
And I can’t sing the blues anymore
But I can sing this song
And you can sing this song
When I’m gone.