The Robin

FD taps me gently and whispers in my ear, "It's 5:30. Better get up."

I had set the alarm for 5:37. Swinging out of bed, I jump into some clothes, wash up a bit. Son #1 has an 8:00 flight out of Midway Airport, which is way away from where we are. If we don't leave early we'll hit morning rush hour.

I quickly grab some coffee, heat him up a bite to eat, wrap it in foil. He'll hit the road packing with food for a few dinners, depending upon his appetite tonight. On the way we talk about his research, my online class, how much we both like the Chicago community, the future of the universe. At some point he asks, "So Mom, where do you see yourself in ten years?"

Pretty sure he's wondering the same thing for himself, I still fall for the trap and talk about me. "I'm hoping I'm alive in ten years. I see people my age with brain tumors and Alzheimers. Just hoping to stay in the game, dear." But we talk about possibilities, fantasies.

In moments he's gone, and alone in the car, I flip on the radio to hear the morning news. You don't really get much when you celebrate Jewish holidays with an attitude. You sort of avoid the outside world and focus on whoever is visiting.

A mistake, the radio. The mother of three missing children found suffocated (bag over her head). Mr. Casanova, the prime suspect drives a Dodge, probably with the three little ones. China is selling the Zimbabwans weapons, but neighboring portal countries refuse to allow ships safe harbor. An NPR reporter interviews a tortured man with broken hands. In African English he tells us about an unrestrained militia butting heads with rifles, whipping civilians with bicycle chains. I begin to feel sick and change the channel.

On a seemingly innocuous rock station, talking heads yuk it up about the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team and their fans who are unwilling to wait the lines to use the facilities and wear diapers to the games. They discuss this, remark that their own bodies wouldn't allow them to do this, meaning to use Depends. I am now wondering, as I always do, where American culture is going, when the male head remarks, They really have NO shame, none. This is the absolute truth. Shame isn't even a consideration.

Well, this says it all, so I flip to the one Chicago classical music station, WFMT, which generally isn't all that great, but recently clipped me of $40.00 anyway, and remember seeing the envelope in the mail on Saturday, thinking, how fast! A
pastoral piece draws me in, calms me down, and I'm sure I don't know what it is, but am thinking, Copeland.

It's so lovely that very soon I'm seeing myself in a movie, ala Albert Brooks in Defending Your Life. He's in a convertible feeling great, top down, singing along with Barbra Streisand when a bus stops short and Albert winds up in Heaven. This is a GREAT movie if you haven't seen it, by the way.

So I drive carefully, like an old lady, which is the best way to drive, no comments about me and being old, if you don't mind.

All of a sudden the traffic slows to a crawl. I'm at Bryn Mawr and consider exiting, but we're approaching the curve to Sheridan Road and Devon and Loyola University. Only a week ago a young woman, perhaps 19 or 20, was hit by an automobile in the rain, crossing to go to school, only about a half mile from where I am sitting in traffic.

I have to go there, I say to myself. I have to see it, this intersection with new construction, this place that is so confusing in the rain. I have to pay my own personal respects to a woman and her family that I don't know, yet know.

The pastoral ends. It is The Promise of Living, the finale of an opera by Aaron Copeland, the Tender Land. Isn't that amazing, I say to myself.

Before I can blink I'm passing Indian Boundary Park and a baby robin is in the road just ahead. I slow down to be sure he knows how to fly, that I don't hit him. And as birds do, he's airborne in less than a second.

It's only 7:30 and I say to myself. Maybe one of my grandchildren is awake. Perhaps someone is ready to play.



porcini66 said…
I'm a relatively new reader and I love your blogs - you invariably make me think, or laugh or give me new hope and perspective - sometimes all of the above! :) I look forward to getting them and I appreciate you sharing. Thanks! peg
Jack said…
The proliferation of news and information is a bit overwhelming. I am a news hound, but sometimes I have to cut it out.

It is just too much.
Rob at Kintropy said…
Defending Your Life is one of my wife's and my favorite movies. Thanks for letting us drop into your morning and share your thoughts & observations.
therapydoc said…
Thanks Rob, it's what happens when therapists get to talking.
Anonymous said…
Kids really can take our minds off of the junk out there. But then they're the reason we worry so much, too.
Barfly said…
You saw a baby robin. That means you won't be skiing anymore in that park for awhile I think.
The Insighter said…
What struck me about Defending Your Life was an understanding that we humans can be selfish, vile and deficient; yet can still be loved. The bittersweet themes of your blog echo this "whole object" taste of reality. Thank you.