A New Life

The coming days were flush with the banal.

Mazie and I, waiting for school to begin, shifted our ways to a local hotel.  They had a pool which Mazie was hot to swim in.  We joked about our big and fancy house. Poe, he stayed put in his hotel in Occidental.

On the last day of summer I took Mazie to the Harry Potter movie in Santa Rosa.  It was a dad daughter day and Mazie was pleased and funny and grateful, I think to have her dad’s attention.

On the first day at school, I drove Mazie from the hotel.  That first morning, nervous as heck, she asked that I walk her to the office, we check in, and then we walk out and as we did so she would peel away.  In that way, just as she dictated, I delivered her to her new school.

The kids were different, she later told me.  But she’s grown up resilient, and slowly, in her own way, she set to making friends.

Mazie and I would have breakfast each morning in the hotel lobby.  She would pack a lunch for herself from whatever she could scavenge from the hotel breakfast line: a piece of fruit, some juice, a PB&J.  I would then drive her to school.  In the evening I’d pick her up, we’d settle back into our hotel room, and Mazie would diligently sit and do her homework.

As for Poe, he became my own affair.  Some mornings and most afternoons I’d drive to Occidental and up into the meadow, where I would set with him.  I’d nap in the straw while he perched near me.  I’d feed him and talk to him.  He would sometimes mutter back.  I called Anna on the phone.  I wanted to tell her about the bird, but when we talked he would caw loudly until Anna would tell me to get out of the coop.  It was hard to talk with the bird near by, she said.

People seek solace and meaning and fire, and we each seek it in our own way.

I found it in dreaming of and fashioning for ourselves a new life.  I found it in Poe.

In the end, I think he just bugged her.

What Happens When You Believe

I took a bunch of pictures to share, but now even that seems too much of a bother.

I had hoped that Poe could settle in at the Salmon Creek school in Occidental.  The school is set on 20 acres of meadow and redwood forest and wetland.  It also has an enormous fenced garden where I fancied Poe could hang out and regain a semblance of self.  Mazie and I took him there in the afternoon and set him free.

He enjoyed digging and exploring with his beak.  He hopped about in the wood chips and tussled with the greenery.  Mazie read quietly beneath an arbor.  Other ravens cawed out from the surrounding forest. Lovely clouds piled high in the sky and that afternoon the light felt marvelous and true.  I called Kerry.  We both were hopeful.  Perhaps Poe’s rehabilitation could become part of a school science program.  He could stay in the garden and mend.  And kids at the school could learn what it meant to be in close proximity to wildlife and maybe they figure out how to engineer some structure that would meet the needs of a wounded raven.

You see, this was all going to work out, or so it seemed.

But school would not start for a few more days.  The afternoon waned.  We gathered Poe into his carrier and in the setting light we drove up the hill and out of the valley.  Penny, the co-owner of the Holy Cow had offered her house up as a refuge.  She had an enormous chicken coop – the chicken hotel, she called it.  And hotel it was.  Ten feet high, fifteen across, open chicken wire walls all around facing out into meadow and oaks.  Poe took to the space immediately.  He ate and preened and hopped about in the straw.  Families and ravens flying over head would call out as they headed home to their roost.  Poe listened and called out in return.

Michael and Penny and I and even Mazie were elated.  Poe was safe.  I was safe, we all were, in the august darkness.

 

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