Nobody’s Mother

Nobody’s Mother


I am Nobody’s mother,

And Nobody loves me very much.

I held Nobody’s wee hand

On her first day of kindergarten.

I dried Nobody’s sweet tears

When her adolescent heart was crushed.

When Nobody went away

I lay awake at night for her call.

Nobody was my gift to the world.

Then I remembered

Nobody had disappointed me

Or forgotten my birthday.

Nobody had gotten in trouble

And called me a bad mother.

Nobody was my greatest ally,

But also my worst nightmare.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen

If Nobody had children.


It’s About Time

So what if it has been almost a year since I last posted on this blog? After all, doesn’t being “free to say” mean I’m also at liberty not to say anything if I don’t want to?  (those of you who have known me understand what a preposterous notion that is)

Not that I haven’t wanted to. It’s just that slippery issue of time keeps cropping up. Full disclaimer: I’ve certainly had more than enough free time to write, if I chose. For some reason, however, I’ve found myself thinking much more about writing than actually committing to write.

Perhaps because my life changed with the addition of a new love (well, not exactly new anymore; we’ve been partners since August, 2009), I have committed myself to weaving my old yarns within the new adventures he and I have had. And yes, we’ve had more than a few adventures. One in particular: I have finally lived out that fantasy I mentioned in last year’s post:

One day soon I will sport monster platform shoes and perform a classic David Bowie song.

Now I am routinely performing Bowie’s Space Oddity and belting out Aimee Mann’s Thirty-One Today in a rock band. Not wearing platform shoes, but sporting funky boots nonetheless.

I’ve rationalized some of my inattention to the act of writing by assuring myself I’m adding “new material” to the scrap bag of memories, observations, and anecdotes I’ve spun in my prior posts.

But I suppose it is time to commit to writing again when my love earnestly says to me, “Freda, I think you should write in your blog; it’s good therapy for  you.” Good therapy, indeed.

Drawing back into the far reaches of rock and roll memories, I’ve concluded that there is no time like the present to get started writing. Think about any number of musical references to the topic:

Time Has Come Today . . . No Time Left for You . . . Time Is On My Side . . . Time in a Bottle . . . Time After Time . . . By the Time I Get to Phoenix . . . Feels Like the First Time . . . Big Time Sensuality . . . Let the Good Times Roll . . . Haven’t Got Time for the Pain . . . Love Me Two Times . . . Time Out of Mind . . . Big Time . . . The Times They Are a-Changin’ . . . Time of the Season . . . For the Good Times . . . Time Won’t Let Me . . . Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? . . . Born at the Right Time . . . The Longest Time . . . Time Warp . . . Man Out of Time . . . The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face . . . The Last Time I Saw Richard . . . Time Waits for No One . . . Any Time At All . . . Too Much Time On My Hands . . . .

Enough already. It’s about time.

These days are filled with disproportionate amounts of elation and fear. No wonder blogging has become hard. Between the euphoria of a blossoming romance and the fear of foreclosure there is little room for organized thinking- which is essentially what the act of writing is about.

No, my life has become a disordered menu of memorable moments interspersed with a to-do list, hardly suitable material for public consumption. Yet the writer needs to write. And so, my friends, I present this disordered list of random musings to you. Who knows? Some items may make for interesting material one day. Most, however, are the by-products of a mind- mine- spinning furiously on the hamster wheel of daily existence.

♦One day soon I will sport monster platform shoes and perform a classic David Bowie song. Changes, or maybe Rebel, Rebel. This act will satisfy my teenage fantasy of rock stardom. I am closer to this day than I have ever been before.

♦The highlight of the past month: watching a pair of Great Blue Herons build a nest atop a dead tree in the swamp adjacent to the McAlpine Creek Greenway.

♦Must. Find. Job.

♦The benefits of having a double-family are immeasurable. I cannot imagine life without my parents- all of them. The prospect of losing any one of them, however, looms large and settles on my heart with a heavy thud. Recent medical issues with two parents have reinforced this dread.

♦So many friends, so little time. Would the latter be solved with more money?

♦My boy drives a black Vespa Scooter. He makes me feel like an Italian princess. His vanity license tag reads, “Pazzo,” Italian for crazy.

♦Must. Find. Job.

♦For the first time in my life, my lover has no issue with my weight. Now I must go on a diet to please myself. But first I must resolve to do it. Today or tomorrow?

♦My boy is a night owl. Like me. He is creative. Like me. He is moody. Like me. Sometimes I wonder how to deal with so much similarity.

♦Sophie is snoring gently beside me. She will be seven next month- middle-aged in dog years. I worry about this, too. I’m happy that dogs don’t suffer from existential angst.

♦Once again I am awed by the beauty of fractals- this time while snorkeling in Belize I took a photo of brain coral. Amazing image.

♦I grew up in Raleigh, in North Hills, in the sixties and seventies. I wonder if there was something in the water of Crabtree Creek that inspired creativity? Or was it simply the influx of IBMers and Research Triangle types? Regardless, my boy- who is only nine months my senior- describes his childhood in Charlotte as one whistle-stop from being a Jim Crow town.

♦Must. Find. Job. Strike that- career

♦Has it now become standard practice not to send rejection letters or emails? Here’s a new post-interview slogan: “When you receive nothing, you get nothing.”

♦I like the idea of having more love and enough money.

♦My boy ran out of his house one afternoon last week holding a large pair of binoculars. I thought he might have seen an unusual bird. When I asked what he was looking for, he replied, “I just saw on FlightAware there’s an Airbus 330 from Frankfurt landing any minute now.” He’s unique, my boy.

♦Must. Find. Job. Strike that- Motivation.

♦Inspiration is easier to find than motivation. Inspiration needs only awareness. Motivation requires necessity.

♦Unfortunately, like so many folks in this bum economy, I need money.

♦Mother Joyce once told me, “you can never have too many people to love.” She’s absolutely right.

My Childhood Best Friend

Note: Love sometimes forces the creative muse to take a hike down the road to bathos. My apologies to any and all serious poets, past and present. Enjoy, but be warned: I am in love.

Spun like a top through the turbulent years

Of my twenties, my thirties, my forties- life flew.

At last I landed alone on my side

And I woke up to find myself beside you.

“Who are you?”I wondered, still half-aware.

Only vaguely beginning to comprehend

A mystery had silently happened there.

I’d awakened beside my childhood best friend.

Now I am nine, and you are ten-

And we walk through the woods on our way home from school-

Me with my book, and you with your glove,

We stop by the creek where the water is cool.

And we talk about things most important to us:

Steam trains, distant stars, and all things that fly.

You tell corny jokes you know make me laugh;

I sing sappy songs I know make you cry.

Our lives are like little stories we share

Under the cover of pine trees so tall.

You- my dark-haired piano boy,

And I- your little miss know-it-all.


It has taken me a long time to admit this, even to myself, but I fell in love with a lifestyle. Not a house- even though I participated in the design and construction of one of the most charming Lowcountry homes on Bogue Banks. Not a car- even though my little Mazda Miata- Montego Blue with tan leather top and interior- remains the snazziest car I’ve ever owned. Not the vacations- even though the Fairmont at Banff Springs and the two trips to Cannes were nothing short of splendid. And not even my ex-husband, Nob, ever-charming and handsome, the man to whom I remained devoted for eighteen productive, albeit difficult years, could replace what I ultimately felt I had lost once the emblems of my former life eventually melted away to moving, memory, and divorce.

I missed my birds, Big Al Egret and Ivan Ibis.

Big Al arrived first, when Nob and I lived in a condominium community surrounded by lagoons on Bogue Sound. The lagoons, stocked with carp to control algae, teemed with minnows that schooled in a boiling mass whenever I fed them leftover breadcrumbs. Soon enough my activities attracted the attention of a curious White Egret. Eventually the bird became conditioned to the feast he would inevitably scarf down whenever he saw me appear on the scene. He thus allowed himself to be “tamed.” Nob and I named him Big Al, as his size and voracious appetite gave him the appearance of a homely diner who frequented fast food joints. Big Al soon became such a fixture around our house that whenever he spotted one of us outside near the water, he would fly over and land within six feet, long neck craning to the side, beady eyes fixed on the lagoon’s surface, and scissor-like bill clacking in anticipation of the meal to come.

Within a year or two of befriending Big Al, word apparently spread among the egrets of Bogue Banks. The lagoon facing our house became a nesting site, often housing as many as a hundred (yes, really- I counted!) of the pterodactyl-like creatures. I still remember many Magritte-like evenings- tall pine trees backlit by a fiery sunset while dozens of egrets circled overhead, lit tentatively in the thin branches, then jostled for position- often emitting a prehistoric honk as they jousted each other with pointy beaks.

ibisAfter a while Big Al took up with a fishing partner- an ungainly White Ibis I named Ivan. The two were a strange, albeit comical, duo. Al would work the shallow water on the lagoon’s edge, often stopping to strike peculiar angular postures- before jabbing at the water and swiftly knocking back a wriggling minnow. Ivan had a more methodical method of fishing. Walking slightly behind and upshore from Big Al, Ivan plumbed the margin where water met grass. Rapidly and incessantly bobbling his downcurved bill like a sewing machine, Ivan procured the worms and tiny jetsam along the water’s edge. The odd pair, egret and ibis, ultimately became inseparable, as I would never see one without the other being nearby.

After the house was finished, we moved less than two miles down the road to a secluded peninsula of maritime forest. Although Al and Ivan were now outside the boundaries of our daily routines, a host of similar birds and wildlife took their place. There was a Great Blue Egret I called the Old Man who roosted nightly at the top of a Live Oak tree on our pond. There were ospreys, pelicans, hummingbirds, and an occasional Clapper Rail.  There were hungry Canada Geese and Mallard ducks to feed cracked corn. There were also nesting pairs of Painted Buntings- their tiny, brilliant crimson, yellow, and blue wings skimming within two feet overhead.  On cool nights I recall hearing the plaintive call-and-response courtship of Great Horned Owls. Once, I spotted one from the second story front porch and watched it silently glide along the salt marsh that paralleled our driveway.

There were some awesome sights to be seen along the edge of the maritime forest, where our back porches overlooked the dense tops of Live Oaks, Wax Myrtles and Swamp Magnolias that formed a green arch between the pond and the wide, blue sound. In three brief years we observed two enormous mating Timber Rattlesnakes(!), gray foxes, opossums, numerous raccoons, and an occasional lumbering snapping turtle. I remember being startled the first time I was awakened by the light of an enormous, silver disc of full moon framed by the French doors in our bedroom, setting directly over the luminous Bogue Sound.

It is ironic that in the face of material comforts, these sights and memories of nature cost nothing- yet they cost everything, too. The time I spent devoted to the dream of a continuous commune with nature was spent in a marriage that produced no children, no great accomplishments, little joy, and ultimately- no lasting commitment. I remained doggedly devoted to the beautiful sights, sounds, and experiences my lifestyle afforded while blithely ignoring the cost of foregoing whatever other dreams I had.

I miss Big Al and Ivan, sure, but I have grown since then. Now that I am writing a new, later chapter in my life story, I hope I will have the wisdom to abide by this quote by Lao Tzu:

Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

fredazoo: my best friend


Sophie is kissed by Murphy, the cool black cat.