On January 31 a large, brown, shaggy bird caught my eye outside our dining room window. Ewan had just gotten a telescope for Christmas, so Iona and I zoomed in on the bird. It was sitting on a piling in the lake tearing the feathers off a dead crow. We looked the bird up on the internet, and decided it was a juvenile eagle.
Then, a couple weeks ago when Iona and I were out of town, Ewan was cycling along the lake and he saw our eagle at a nearby park. He reported that its scrubby young brown feathers were falling out, and it was starting to sport the markings of an adult. Our little guy was growing up.
Today, just now, Ewan spotted him outside! He's sitting in a tree about a half a block down from our house, right this second. We've been watching him through the telescope. He has only a few brown feathers left mixed into the white on his head, his beak is bright yellow, and he wears a stern frown.
Iona sat right down to draw him. We will be late for school.
My sister and her family have a new addition! They haven't named him yet but Ewan and I suggested Yoda. Try not. Do or do not, there is no try. He is twenty and will likely live another sixty to eighty years. That means he may reach a hundred. It's the vegetarian diet, I'll betcha.
When I was a kid of about ten or eleven I went to a slide presentation at our church by some missionaries who had just returned from an exotic place like Africa or Yemen or Madagascar. I'm sure I didn't really want to be there and only went along to please my parents. I sat, half paying attention and half daydreaming about Neil Hansen as the slide carousel clicked around and the presenter said, "Blahblah blah blah." Suddenly up flipped the image of the most enchantingly bizarre creature I had ever seen, and the missionary guy said, "And this little guy was my pet. He's a Veiled chameleon."
After that I wanted a chameleon in the worst way but settled for the anoles (generic-looking lizards that change color) I bought off a burlap-covered board at the Puyallup Fair. One even lived in Mom's Boston fern in the dining room for a couple years until he got lost in the drapes. We finally found him when he was nearly dead, starved to a cold brown twig. It took six or seven live flies to bring him back to his vibrant green, then he enjoyed his heat lamp in his new glass cage for at least another year.
Ages later, when I was in my twenties, I fell in love with a guy because he said to me, "Chameleons? They have prehensile eyeballs." I was nothing if not discerning.
Today I took Iona to the special exhibit at the aquarium: Lizards and the Komodo King. I couldn't get enough. Finally Iona turned to me and said, "Mom, I am through with lizards!" and walked out.
There's a monster in my belly and it's called PMS. Every several months the monster claws its way out and informs me that it doesn't actually live in my belly but is the offspring of several mating hormones. Its tone is supercilious. It likes to use big words. It's mean; it makes me do things like vacuum a lot (I see a speck on the carpet and I only vacuumed six minutes ago!) and check my stats like a mental stutter and look in the mirror and hate myself.
I am listening to a story on the radio in the car while driving among other drivers, silly fools who should be beaten with a stick, when the monster throws handfuls of something in my eyes to make them water. This happens whether the story is about the West Virginia coal miners or the Cubs losing again or Colbert making fun of Mister President.
The monster plunges into my mouth and down my throat and hides and plays mean tricks like speaking with a dead voice to little boy N who comes over for a play date and demanding that Iona SOUND OUT THAT MIDDLE WORD in the title of Rob Saves Dad for the fifteenth time or the light goes out right now. The monster is a bitch.
The monster gets up on my desk and throws all the many, many papers into one large pile so it can light a bonfire later. Then it watches me look for that lost address for an hour and a half and it laughs HAHAHAha
Somehow the monster makes all the cosmos line up in such a way that I cannot get anything accomplished and I spend so much time at the lighting store trying to get a light fixture repaired that when I leave at 5:00 they hang the CLOSED sign up an hour early and all pour themselves a stiff drink.
The monster puts a bottle of red wine in front of me next to Iona's leftover Easter chocolate and sneers.
"Confess," the monster whispers, handing me my laptop.