In lieu of family, all of whom having been killed off by that most sadistic of life writers, Almighty Whatever, and in lieu of friends, who have been written out of the script by that fickle collaborator, River of Time, I have found new family and friends in the neighborhood birds.
For any Brits reading this I do not refer to young women of the comely variety, but to the actual offspring of Mother Nature, bona fide birds, the real McCoy.
In the backyard, outside the kitchen window, I have created a holy place for birds by placing seven small stones in a circle — seven representing completeness, wholeness, perfection — about three feet in diameter, in the center of which I scatter bird seed of a most beneficial variety.
The birds come flying in, if not from Chicago and L.A., then certainly from the branches of the many tall trees that surround my lowly bungalow.
I look out the window as I make my morning coffee and watch their comings and goings. Birds of many kinds and wonderful colors, with individual personalities. Blue jays are bullies, morning doves affable, grackles cheeky. They all travel light, no baggage, my kind of flyers.
In all my trips flying to Australia over the years, crossing that dark ocean two dozen times, usually going for a month or longer, I never took anything more than a carry-on.
I traveled light, like the birds that fly into my backyard these many years later, me an old man now, not the cavalier fellow flying Down Under, putting the make on pretty women sitting near me in the 747, sweet romance under a Qantas blanket at 30,000 feet, all behind me now as I hear the kettle boiling and make my coffee and watch the birds in a solitary place of completeness.