It didn’t occur to me yesterday, Monday, April 14, that it was the first day of Holy Week, leading up to Easter next Sunday. I had my head down all day measuring and cutting boards, knocking together the stage I’ve been working on for a few days. Today, in fact, is day six in the construction schedule.
I’m working directly beside the main trunk of an old live oak tree, one of the treasured oaks here at Waterhole Branch. The site is on top of the spot where another stage had held literary and musical court in the goodtime past. But that one was cut down with chain saws and hauled away on a flatbed truck, as I hear. I wasn’t around when it happened. But I’ve heard the stories.
This place, this land where I’m rebuilding the stage belongs to authors Suzanne Hudson and Joe Formichella. The former stage belonged to them. This stage belongs to them, and in a slantwise manner, I suppose, to all the good people who made donations and helped raise money to rebuild it.
Suzanne calls it the Resurrection Stage. So, a time or two or three, these last few days as I was up and down my ladder, bending over to hoist another two-by-six onto the saw horses, visualizing what would come next since I’ve been working without plans, I have thought about Easter coming up. That resurrection story.
Also brown-studied a bit on new birth, on eggs not for boiling, dying and eating, but for hatching-out. Because the stage is also in the staked-out territory of a pair of Red-shouldered hawks who are new parents. Their nestlings pecked their way out into this world three days ago.
If I tilt back my cap and look straight up the main trunk, about forty feet high up in the tree it splits into two heavy branches. Like arms raised, palms up, in praise of rain at the end of a long dry spell. Or a preacher man asking his congregation to please rise. There at that juncture of the tree, in that crotch is where Mr. and Mrs. W. B. (Waterhole Branch) Hawk laced together sticks and branches into a three-foot circle. The Audubon site says they likely lined it with bark, moss, and sprigs of green vegetation. Made it nice and strong, ‘cause they’ll reuse it.
It occurred to me, it being Easter season and all, that when I get the Resurrection Stage finished, why not have a priest to come and anoint the stage. Bless it with nice words of joy and hope, talk about community and sharing. Say something about the writers and singer-songwriters, talk some about their words and music that, from this new stage, would raise the spirits of an audience as sure and as well as a Sunday service.
As I walked down the hill this morning, looking at the almost finished stage, hoping to get it wrapped up today, I thought it’s about time to call the priest. I stepped up onto the new boards and immediately noticed that somebody had splattered them with white paint. What? Who? I looked around.
Wait a minute, stupid!
What was that other thing I read online about baby hawks?
It said that within the first five days of life, the hatchlings learn on their own to poop over the side of the nest. No need for diapers. No fouling the nest. But watch out below!
I was delighted. A most perfect anointing of the Resurrection Stage. Saint Francis would love it! And I also love this holy sacrament, this wholly innocent bestowing of, if not divine grace, then the certain promise of a great good place in the out-of-doors for celebrating books and music, in the gliding shadow of hawks in the sky.