From Duck Tales

I checked the hydrangea bush this morning. There they were. Five eggs, buried among the roots. I observed Ruby with satisfaction. She might yet become a Mama duck.

Sugar is having trouble. She is laying her eggs in the duck house during the night. Ruby waits until morning when I open the door of her hutch. Straight to the hydrangea she marches. 15 minutes of sitting, and an egg appears. Then, on with her day. I wonder whether the control Ruby exhibits is physical or mental or something else entirely.

Sugar will eat only one brand of duck food. If it is not her brand, she will starve before she will condescend to try something new. It is as simple as that.

Ruby could exist on bugs. I think she prefers them. She complains about nothing at all, except being touched. Unlike Sugar, who will sit, though nervously, in my lap, Ruby goes berserk in dramatic fashion, flinging herself toward the creek while screaming and squawking, intent upon outrunning the devoted being who feeds her. It is an odd thing.

Rufus is the Protector-General. Highly decorated, I believe. Very male. He always lets the girls eat first as he stands sentry. His gallantry is endearing. Who doesn’t enjoy being in the presence of a gentleman? But I think he could do better at practicing monogamy if he really put his heart into it.

from Goodbye to a House

Next year, someone else will tend my azaleas. Another family, strangers to me, will delight over the first spring blossoms of our redbud tree. They’ll gaze out the nursery window to watch the sway of the weeping willow, and will surely love, as I have, the shadows that dance about the walls and create such pleasure from nothing really at all. They won’t know that the graceful willow was little more than a twig when we planted it to take the place of a pine that died with the freeze and broke our hearts...

Funny thing about a house. When a family lives within its walls for a span of time, a mystical transformation takes place. Through the milk that is spilled and the tears that mingle alongside it, a house becomes a home. Joys, surprises, misunderstandings, and forgiveness hover above the threshold like guardian angels...

Like the lingering goodbye to a cherished great-aunt who smells of vanilla, all eyes follow her tiny stooped frame standing alone in the garden. From the car, all arms insensibly wave goodbye until the corner is rounded, and the street sign obscures her lovely weathered face...