butterscotch and chocolate fudge
on life, aging, and finding ourselves anew
There’s an old rooster here. His plumage is golden and slick. His comb and wattles deep red. He walks chest proud with one enormous spur. The nub that sits where the other spur should be has a story to tell. The ghost of the spur pair. I imagine what that story may be every time we visit.
The people that own the house we’re staying at while we visit our daughter in Virginia tell us that he is all that’s left after the marauding creature(s) ate their entire chicken flock. Maybe that’s where the spur went - defending his hens. I’d like to think so. In any case, he remains the solitary flightless bird, doomed to comb the grasses for wiggly treasures, crowing in the rising sun with nobody to hear.
All of the verdant greens of spring and summer have retreated now. The leaves, each and every one, grown from the life-force of the tree, give the last of what they have in service to the life of their tree. She birthed them all. Soft buds opening under glistening resin. Unfolding and opening light green leaves deepening in colour over mere days. Each leaf capturing the sunlight and feeding it to its mother. Each leaf breathing in one symphonic chorus. Each leaf sending messages quicker than a laser. And now, each leaf blowing away. They return to the forest floor. Life for the invisible.
When I went to feed the rooster yesterday, he greeted me. He has come to know me as the benevolent benefactor of beef trimmings and buttery winter squash excess. I noticed he had a leaf impaled on his lone spur. He and the leaf the same golden yellow.
I used to sing songs to my daughters when they were little. There were the kid’s classics, but they always liked my made-up songs the best. I would borrow library books that were full of children’s poems and make up silly songs for them and they would dance around our living room. They were such hams, always up for a good ruckus. Some of the songs were heavy and slow with spurts of quickness and light. Others were sung by old stodgy British characters. Some were sung by imbeciles. I could be all sorts of weird and wonderful characters depending on the requests of little girls.
One song, well it was a children’s poem actually, was about a rainy, dreary day and a little boy’s delight when his dad offered to brighten it up by the two of them making chocolate fudge. When I sang the song, mouth instruments mandatory, I started it off just as slow and bored as it sounded. My daughters would move in slow motion, droop their heads, and drag their feet in an exaggerated, depressed dance. But when the dad came in and said “let’s make chocolate fudge”, the music suddenly quickened into a frenetic, joyous celebration. And so too went my girls, wildly dancing and shaking and