Published 4/15/2008
by Eddy Robey M.A.
  Issue: 9.04
A Friend Comments On Eddy's Loss
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This is Leslie Halperin, April's contributor to Eddy Robey's Book of Months. Eddy is in mourning for her favorite cousin, the exquisite Sherry Britton, who left us on April first, three months shy of her ninetieth birthday. I hope that Eddy will speak about her in essays-to-come. Her's was an interesting, and beautiful life.

Life! April is the first full month of spring. And spring is life shouting hello! We celebrate the season with light, color, fragrance, noise, and movement. We also breathe a sigh of relief at having survived winter, and bad times, generally. We feast, we imbibe, we might even venture the odd flirtation... But spring is a hard time, too. Life preys on life. All creatures bring forth new life, and very little of that new life lives past its infancy. (There is an old Hindu proverb: "Every creature's disaster is another creature's festival.")

I live in Van Nuys, California, a land of large trees, and overgrown backyards. The mockingbirds come early. They sing all night and all day. It is said that a trained "birder" can identify the range of a mockingbird's migration by noting all of the different birdsongs in its "vocabulary." I am not a birder, but I can recognize the sounds of a scrubjay, a tit, a bluejay, and a variety of others, whose names I do not know, whom I've heard in the Coastal Ranges, and local deserts. The most prominent mockingbird in my neighborhood, has spiced his repertoire with two distinct dog barks, a squirrel screech, and what I think might be a seagull's cry. Last year, a mockingbird passed through that imitated a hawk, which struck me as a pretty bad choice if he wanted to attract a mate.

I love the mockingbirds. So, it hurts me, later in the spring, when their nests are routinely attacked by the crows. But, I also love crows. They are intelligent, social ("Falderaldy critters," to use Jerry Garcia's phrase,) and inventive. I was sorry to see the local population so badly decimated by the West Nile Flu, during the last two years. The creatures are recovering, albeit slowly, no doubt prominently on mockingbird meat. Sometimes, hawks, in mating pairs, circle the crows' territories. The crows strike out in a defensive barrage. But a careless, over-bold crow could easily end up as dinner. A real birder certainly knows a great many of these chains of predation. None of my beloved wild, nor domestic creatures (including humans) could live, but for predation, direct or indirect.

The myriad sufferings of all life forms cannot help but sadden us. We are taught empathy. And we want to be empathetic. We are part of the great cycle of life and death. What we see around us, will eventually come to us. Spring shows us the pattern, the symmetry of the arrangement. And awakens us to the beauty in it.

Our wonderful Eddy will return to us in May. She has asked me to send you her love.

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