photo by Sheri Dixon

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Migration Day

Our house just got quieter, calmer, infinitely emptier.

I remember road trips my family made to Horicon Marsh in Wisconsin- when the Canada Geese were migrating.

The marsh was covered, every square inch, with geese- flying, swimming, eating, and generally filling the air with proof of their presence- the cacophony of wings beating, honking, the sheer LIFE of them almost indescribable.

Then one night they'd be gone, mostly of a piece, just like that.

And the marshlands were silent- even the fulltime residents unable or unwilling to make a peep or chirp in the unfamiliar vacuum.

That's our house today after our migrating Snowbird Montanan pulled out of the yard headed for the mountains till autumn silents the cicadas, banishes the waves of heat shimmering just above both pavement and pasture, and blows away the aroma of sun-cooked pine- all the lazy, sweltering, familiar things I personally love about Texas.

This is our second summer of having Uncle Joe in our family. I've heard people say that "Joe carries his own weather with him". He's a big guy, with a forceful personality, and there's no way you're ever NOT aware that Joe's around. This has shifted the atmosphere in our normally quiet household, but not in a bad way. I believe that we all balance each other out- that Joe "shakes things up a little" while we "level him out some".

Last summer Joe had surgery at the VA Hospital in Montana and we traveled up there to be with him. Not (just) because we've never been to that part of the country and it made a good excuse for a totally kickass vacation, or because he has no friends up there who would've made sure he was alright- he's got a whole herd of good friends going back the 35 years he's lived there, but because

That's what Family does.

And it meant the world to him that we were there for his surgery, and that we could meet all his friends and get the opportunity to see his Life Before Us- Helena Montana.

This year it was our part of the familial equation that was medically grounded, and it was Joe who held the fort and the farm- spending over a month caring for critters he never asked for and a house that's way too big for one person. Not (just) because he desired to do an intimate study on the sex-lives of poultry, or needed somewhere totally quiet to continue his writing endeavors, but because

That's what Family does.

And it meant the world to us that never for one moment in over a month did I have to worry about Home, because someone was caring for everything who actually knows each critter and every minute of the daily routine.

So the wind has gone out of the sails of our lives for a while, but that's not a bad thing either. We've got a ton of projects that need done this summer that only the three of us can do- mainly going through this house top to bottom and shedding about 1/3 of the "stuff" in it in anticipation of trying to get moved to our other place, and Joe will be trying to accomplish the same in Montana with his "stuff" that's still up there.

Come fall, we'll all be ready for the return migration and moving forward with our plans for the future- plans that've gotten delayed some, and shifted a bit, and revised a tad, but never canceled, because

That's what Family does.


  1. I have know Joe for going on 20 years. He has always reminded me of the song I'm No Angel. He might steal your Diamonds, but will bring you back some Gold. A big old Teddy Bear that's armed. He makes me laugh. Can't wait to see him again. So fly bird, fly....M

  2. Should have been KNOWN Joe.. I done good in English.

  3. wow. almost time for the return migration :)