Many years ago, a friend’s husband made me a concrete birdbath that sits on the ground where I can see it from the kitchen window. It has a round hole in one end into which a cork will fit to keep the water in and to let the water out to clean it and to keep the mosquitoes from breeding.
Corks tend to deteriorate over time when they are left submerged, so occasionally I replace the cork with a new one. The type that come in the occasional bottle of sherry Richard buys work well.
The birdbath is extremely heavy and difficult to move, so permanently blocking the hole would mean tipping it on its side to drain water out, and that is not an option.
This birdbath is a popular gathering place for birds…
And little warty toads….
The cat drinks out of it.
I have no idea who comes to visit it at night, but for sure the raccoons are interested in it.
Earlier in the spring, I got up in the morning and noted the water had been drained out, and I discovered the cork had been pulled out.
This happened a few more times, but it didn’t bother me too much because the water needs to be drained frequently. And then I decided to put a "sort of a brick" on the cork.
And then the cork disintegrated.
So I found a new cork in the junk drawer (how could one survive without junk drawer?), but it was slightly bigger than the hole in the birdbath and it took several tries throughout the day before I could get it wedged in there firmly enough to stop the water trickling out. After about the third trip out with my small pail of water, I finally resorted to whacking on it with a hammer. Round cork. Round hole. Should fit.
Satisfied, I replaced the sort-of-a brick on top of the cork, but the cork stuck up too much which left the brick at just enough of an angle that it did not thwart the raccoons. When I got up the next morning, the sort-of-a brick had been pushed off and the new cork pulled out, and the birdbath was empty.
As I stormed back into the house fuming at this clever, clever animal, I recalled that one of the writers of a blog I used to look at fairly frequently (and I am slowly, slowly, starting to be interested again in all the blogs these lovely people have written) has Lucy, which appears to be a pet raccoon or else a very tame wild one, and I wondered – how does one live with a raccoon? How would one go about keeping them OUT of stuff?
At any rate, after several false starts, I got the cork back in and doubled up on the “heavy things that are sort of like bricks” and so far that seems to have done the trick.
I have been thinking in the past few days how it is that the minutia of day-of-day life, the innumerable little problems that crop up that need to be solved, the small decisions that need to be made that help to keep me focused on the right here and now instead of what has happened.
Which manuscript will I work on next?
What shirt will I wear to the Y this morning?
The things that constantly demand my attention and help to keep me going – to keep me from floundering.
To keep me from thinking too much about the gaping hole that suddenly opened in the fabric of our life.
And then, inevitably, every once in a while, I find myself looking over my shoulder as I sit at my computer, feeling at any minute he is going to walk into the living room, and I’ll hear his voice “Hi Mom!” in that funny way he had of saying it.
I miss him so much.
And then the lyric of a song will float through my mind….
“And as I stumble through the darkness
I will call Your name by night…”
And then the moment passes and I ...'
until the next one…