I've just finished applying orange halves to the plum tree, the birch trees, the cherry tree, two apple trees, and all three shepherd's crooks. When I finished, I yelled, "Orioles, lunch is out!" A week ago I saw eight or a dozen orioles flying around up here on the hill. I haven't seen any lately, but I will...! Oranges are like magic for making orioles appear.
Right before I went outside with my net bag full of oranges I heard my seasonal mockingbird trilling through a thousand song phrases . . . couldn't see the bird through the window, but he was nearby.
Mom and Pop Canada goose were next to the road last Thursday when I passed late in the afternoon, with a gosling standing between them, looking for all the world as if they were waiting for the parade to start.
What joy these birds give me, just being around and living their bird lives.
In other news, Max grows skinnier and skinnier by the minute, it seems. He has come, in sleep, to resemble a newly hatched bird. He eats with gusto whenever food is offered, goes from his dish to Angus', eventually owning both servings until he has had enough. I suspect he doesn't know that he's eating from two dishes; I think every time he finds food, he thinks, "Oh! Food!" no matter how short the space of time between discoveries.
Max can no longer manage the stairs in either direction, so he is carried up at night and down in the morning, and overnight, a baby gate placed across the top of the stairway. He fell downstairs twice in the middle of the night when he was, doubtless, wandering around looking for the bed and the hands that lift him up and replace him in same. My trips up and down the stairs usually require me to carry other things as well . . . dirty laundry, clean laundry, wastepaper basket contents, etc. The preparation and arranging of materials is cumbersome late at night when I . . just . . . want . . . to . . . go . . . to . . . bed.
In the mornings, if Max should arrive downstairs before Angus [who is on his own for his ascent to and descent from the bedroom], he totters to the couch and growls at the dark colored afghan, assuming it to be his brother.
No matter what I'm doing I can count on Max being underfoot. Touching me is the only way for him to know exactly where I am. After a surprisingly small number of Squashing-The-Old-Poodle incidents, I have learned to check carefully all around my feet before moving an inch in any direction. It is tiresome, and makes food preparation and bed-making interminable, but it keeps me from cardiac events caused by loud poodle squawks of pain.
I believe that I am ready for Max to cross the Rainbow Bridge. I think it cannot truly be said that he in enjoying his life. I think he is neither happy nor unhappy. He is in no pain I think, although he certainly would be if he were not coddled as he is. I am tired, worn out, but The Decision cannot be made without Husband's being on board, and he is not yet ready.
And no matter how ready all three involved parties (not counting Angus, who's had his brother with him all his life, both pre- and post-birth) might be, the aftermath of the deed will be gorged with sadness, guilt and regrets. After the ubiquity of the Sisyphean Max Care, when it is no longer necessary, there will an awful lot of time to fill with self-reproach.
More later, perhaps.
I believe it is time to change Max's diaper now.
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