H believes that I am overfeeding the hens and all because I was clearing out the kitchen cupboards and found a half bag of couscous and some stale muesli and put it in a bowl to which I added some boiling water until it resembled a glorious mush and then when it had cooled somewhat I went out and tossed it to the critters who waddled over to the gate and cocked their gloriously tiny intelligent little heads at me and bowed down as if in fowl prayer. So what! I have to direct my maternal instinct somewhere, now that the house is declining in human beings (at least temporarily) and I feel sorry for the hens, out there in the mud and cold and rain and darkest of nights. H thinks I am mad. That's okay too. Because there are times when I feel mad.
My youngest son went to Wales yesterday on a school rugby tour. There was a real scramble to get everything done in preparation. He needed sterling for a start and pistachios (don't ask) and tons of Rugby gear for the 'friendlies' arranged with the Welsh schools and his Ipod and credit for his phone and the list went on. I thought with two sons gone (one in college in Dublin) and my eldest son remaining and usually quiet as a church mouse that the house would take on a new and much longed for peace. But no. The silence deafens. It unsettles. It makes me antsy. It challenges all that my life has to say. I open doors and close them again and rearrange the cushions on the sofa. I sit to write and nothing comes out. I fiddle with the pen. Throw it down. Walk around. Make coffee. Hum a tune. Clean the glass. Arrange the candles. Marvel at how tidy the shoe bin is. Nothing works. I face myself in the mirror and look away again.
I take the dogs for a walk. We head to the park where there are a few cars in the parking lot. Most of the walkers are older than me and keep their heads down. One woman comments on Small Dog and says that she is the image of the dog in the movie, The Artist. I smile and move on. I walk to try and clear my head. It is clouded with condensation.
Nobody ever tells you about the place I find myself in now. I hate it when people say 'empty nest'. It sounds, so, well, so empty. There has to be a better way to describe it. It could be; silent home. God no, that sounds worse. How about empty laundry basket or tidy bathroom or matching sock time? How about time for yourself time? How about now that you have reared three sons and they don't really need you anymore that it is about time you figured yourself out-again? How about it being more simple? How about having a choice to stop the clock say about ten years ago? Just slowing it all down for about another ten years and then maybe then I would be able for this, this cut, this slicing off of purpose, this sudden and abrupt ending that makes me wonder if it was all a dream that I conjured up, to avoid this deafening emptiness, this bloody sense of an ending.