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Of Memories and Manners

March 5, 2010

Back in my old stompin’ grounds, I’m bereft to realize the local knowledge I’ve lost since my life was here.  Of course I cannot keep straight the skinny white Florida birds.  The differentiating illustrations are perfectly clear and settled in my mind… right up until they are no longer before me, having been replaced by the very birds which again exhibit no rhyme nor reason between herons and egrets.  In trying to recapture what I thought I knew, there appears to be no Great White Heron.  Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, but there is no big white heron except as a particular color morph of the Great Blue. Hmm, that helps.  Also, there do not seem to be any small white herons, just cattle egrets and snowy egrets (they wear the golden slippers and black beaks).  But wait, wikipedia says egrets are species of heron and there continues to be disagreement over who is which.  How am I supposed to sort them out when the ornithologists haven’t?  Fine.  I have reacquainted myself with the Great Blue and Little Blue Herons, also the Green, and the Black- and Yellow-Crowned Night Heron.

Ibi (shouldn’t that be the plural of ibis?) never fool me, sporting their nifty Egyptian down-curving beaks and I love them so.  A flock of more than a dozen descended upon my friends’ neighbor’s yard to relieve them of whatever tasty infestation they have (just the one lot on the whole block) and it struck me how otherworldly it would be to have a flock of such large birds pecking through a yard in Ohio.

So, yesterday, the friend whose yard is not ibis-inspected found a plate in my (guest) room with the remains of a deliciously rich midnight snack chocolate cake.  I was going to finish it later.  She took it and said, “Cut another slice.  I’m bug phobic.  You taught me, remember?  I thought you were maybe a bit over the top with your Tupperware and Florida Protocols.  But oh no no no, you were right.”  Not only have I forgotten basic survival skills, evidently common manners have fled as well.  It’s just bad form to leave food where bugs can smell it, i.e. anywhere.  I promptly popped the pepitas into a ziplock.  It’s scandalous how cavalier I have become in Italy in our penthouse flat.  Sure, there was the scorpion but even that story has lost its sting in light of baby pygmy rattlers finding too much of a good thing in the clothes dryer here. <YIKES>

Yes, I miss Florida; the tropics enliven me.  Many things I want to know about our world and living and finding peace in the storm I learned here.  Something deep inside dessicates when I’m away for too long, but the returning reminds me of other truths.  The gypsy in me is always and simultaneously ready to remember and move on.

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