The details are boring enough to be spared.
Mazie and I first visited the house alone. Anna had already returned to Arizona.
It was more house than we had ever lived in.
It was rambling and grand and a combination of all that we had ever lived in and anything in a house that we had desired. It had a pool and a sauna and orchard land and acres for vegetables and a dilapidated chicken barn in which any human would care to thrive. It had a treehouse room for Mazie with windows that looked out over an orchard. It was the room that she had always wanted.
It was surrounded by dozens of acres of open land and forest and orchard. Perhaps as time passed, we could purchase some of it, and if we did that, nothing could touch us. We would be protected.
Walking the house, I heard the ravens call out in the trees. Again, I called out to them, Mazie hushing me to be silent. I’m here, I wanted to tell them. I would like to be welcome.
My family and I, we could all live here happily. I could talk to birds here. And no one would hear or judge.
To the extent that Poe, a small black bird, could ever be an auger and guardian-protector, I felt that he had in his own strange way led us to this house. He knew what I wanted and he had made himself present for it to be.
But that is yet again a human construction. The bird himself wants only to leave well enough alone, to communicate with his own kind and bear witness to folly and to live and to feed.
We found the house in the middle of the summer. Anna was home alone with the other animals. Mazie remained with me, but after a few days she decamped to LA to be with friends. I stayed behind in Sebastopol, days filled with inspections and talking with mortgage brokers and moving money around as the world economy markets teetered, slipped and precipitously began to fall. A couple of men covered by umbrellas decided to occupy Wall Street. Nothing new in this story. It’s what the last ten years of this country’s history have been built on. Our nation possessed by feverish desire, digging a foundation pit straight to the very bottom. And at the bottom we would find only sadness and dissolution and rage.
I did everything I could to make it happen.