Wednesday, April 2, 2014

firsts and lasts

on gardner street
Although the long winter didn't fuss me much, I'm marking more closely the firsts this Spring. Last week came the first pink cherry blossoms, the first bluebird, the first tinny sound of Turkey in the Straw as the ice cream truck made it's first drowsy serpentine through the neighborhood. This morning it was the first bee. More specifically the first shadow of a bee through the accordion pleats of the blinds. 

Saturday it will be my first opera and I'm pretty sure it lessens the experience not a whit that I'll be sitting in an air conditioned movie theater at the mall up the road. The Met is the Met, even if it's live streamed. Even if I'm wearing jeans and flip flops.

And not too long after that will be the first day at my new job. The first commute into Norfolk with one of those pre-paid transponder things on my truck to calculate tolls. The first day of the new schedule, still part time but every day and maybe not part time for long (though it is my secret wish I will be so magnificently efficient at my task that it will remain part time). The first interactions with the new boss and new co-workers and setting up a new-to-me desk. And shortly after that, of course, the first new paycheck.

But before the firsts will be the lasts. The last twice weekly conversations - about politics, about gardening, about his family history, and his experiences on a shrimp boat in Alabama - with my 81-year-old friend, Charlie. The last lunch at Don Pancho's with Sharon. The last walk through the lot to take iphone pictures of ladders and random bunches of rusty things and that shiny teal Mustang I never did get to take a spin in. And on the last day, leaving my keys on the desk and closing the door behind me after almost eight years, the longest job I've ever had.

* * *

Nailed to the telephone pole across the street from the office is a bluebird box Charlie made. All these years, through the window next to my desk, I've watched these bright little birds flitting about and sometimes Charlie and and I stand at the door and watch them dive to the grass from the telephone wires (and also, Charlie likes to watch the planes dragging their vapor trails through the sky). But this last week the birds have come closer than ever before. Last week the one sitting - so long and still - on the front steps and yesterday, one on the stair railing peering inside, little seed-pearl eyes blinking.