It’s Saturday

The garden as seen from my mother's bedroom window
Her view of the garden

I sit in the quiet. I like the quiet. It’s Saturday. The air is chill. The sun hasn’t reach the garden yet. It teases from the rooftops of neighboring homes. In the summer it shines down directly over the garden rendering it impossible to sit and challenging to breathe. This morning I swept the patio, brushing dust and stones back into place. I even swept the pavers. Then, I filled the feeders and came inside. I sat on her sofa to wait for the birds to come.

A sparrow perched on a back yard bird feeder
Sparrows were her favourite


I want it to look lovely for her. She always liked things tidy and in their place. Now I have to keep it that way, don’t know when she may be looking. I don’t want to disappoint her.

The sparrows live in the Oleander bush outside the kitchen window. I should call it a tree actually, or perhaps just an enormously overgrown bush. I don’t think the sparrows care what I call it. They call it home. They live there because she kept the feeders full for them every day. With a steady food supply, only a fool bird would live anywhere else.

A large pigeon and two small sparrows sip water from a green cement bird bath
Pigeons and Sparrows share water

The pigeons and doves also come. They are a bit large for the feeders but that doesn’t stop them from trying to land there. They flutter their wings and twist to perch themselves, swinging the feeder slightly till they gain balance from its imbalance. Gently swinging, they dive their beaks into the seeds, eating a few and cascading a shower below for their comrades. The foragers amble over the patio, pavers, and stones pecking at the seeds that fall between. The garden is busy and full of life when the birds come. No wonder she loved to watch them. It’s a show whose theme remains the same but not a single action repeats. It’s difficult to pull my eyes away for fear that I’ll miss something.

I wanted to see them today…in the quiet. Do they know that she is gone? Do they feel her absence like I do? The stories from now belong to us. Her story has gone to print, no more edits or redos. And those of us left behind Chinese whisper the details.

Why didn’t I speak?

The Unsaid

Some things are better left unsaid. But how to un-think? Just because I haven’t spoken doesn’t change the reality. Or does it? It might alter others’ perception of me but not my awareness of myself. Words unspoken linger in the mind building bridges to no escape, towers and tunnels. They burrow and twist, torturous thoughts sharp-pointed, incessant. There is no escape from me. I am who I am because I was who I was and it shapes my will be.

Countless times I choose not to speak. I see the opportunity drift past, a window open and wide…inviting. If I jump through, I fall somewhere else, at a slightly different angle or sometimes on a different path altogether. It’s like a portal to another me. I hold my tongue and watch the portal pass, wondering if I made the right choice. Should I have spoken? Or more importantly, why didn’t I speak? My thoughts are still there, whether anyone else realizes it or not. My thoughts are still there, but there is no trail for anyone else to follow. I’m a ghost there and a ghost here.

A Coward or Cautious?

muslim woman standing before a tall tree with a large bird concealed within the branches
In silence…

I could define myself a coward, afraid and unwilling to announce my point of view. I could define myself as cautious, careful to observe and measure my words appropriately. Perhaps I am a cautious coward altogether. It’s so much safer to hide in my thoughts…or, is it? In my thoughts, un-tethered, I risk drifting.  But, never too far. For here in my thoughts at the core, my faith does prevail immutable. I know You watch over me. I lean on You, revolve around You, a pilgrim, hallowed in purpose. With You as my center, I am never alone. With You as my center, I can’t possibly lose my self  from myself. Silence doesn’t mean that I have nothing to say, it means some things are better left unsaid.