This time of year I look forward to the song of the Meadow Lark. This bird does not simply chirp. It sings a song that evokes feelings of fall and comfort.
To be perfectly honest, before today I didn’t know it was a Meadow Lark. I knew it wasn’t a finch, or a jay, or a gull, or a hawk, or a robin, or magpie, or crow. It sure wasn’t a turkey.
I looked up a list of birds that are in the Sacramento Valley during the fall. Then I looked up each type of bird call on YouTube. On the third try I found my beloved song was that of the Meadow Lark.
Upon meeting my brother Val for coffee this morning I told him about my discovery. He smiled at me as if I’d just escaped from an insane asylum.
“So how’s that Vampire thing working out for you?”
He laughed. “Good. You?”
We’ve always been Vampires so that is a long running joke for us.
“Don’t ignore me when I tell you about something you don’t think is important.”
He lifted an eyebrow. “Excuse me?”
“The Meadow Lark.”
“You have too much free time.”
“Fine, I won’t tell you anything anymore.”
“Oh Jewels, cut it out.”
“You’re such an asshole.”
We walked with our coffee through the old town, then up the hill towards the old church. From the hill I could see the hill my house stood on. I didn’t say anything. Normally I would have made one of those, “Oh look, the trees in my neighborhood,” but I didn’t. I was still pissed off at Val.
We walked past houses that were built when we were young, in the 1880’s. When we arrived at the old church we saw a couple of ghosts sitting on the front steps. They vanished as soon as they saw us.
Val gave me a friendly nudge. “Do you think they’re planning anything for Halloween?”
“I doubt it, but you never know.” I knew we wouldn’t get any information out of them today. Ghosts tend to despise Vampires (for obvious reasons – we have bodies and they don’t.)
These were serious ghosts who’d made the long journey to California in the 1850’s to find gold. Most had been born in Ireland, come half way around the Earth only to die an early death, before the age of forty in a strange land of broken and misplaced dreams. Maybe it wasn’t gold they were looking for, but either way I hope they found something that made the trip worth while. Some found wonder and joy. Most didn’t.
I couldn’t see them but I could feel them looking at us like dark eyed children. I thought they might just want coffee. I wasn’t going to share with them. Neither was Val.
From the church we turned down a side street and headed back towards where we’d parked.
Val told me that his friend Lilly had dumped him. “I was her Vampire,” he said with a sigh.
“Did she know you’re a Vampire?”
“Absolutely not. So just like that she said I was cold and that she got bad vibes off of me. Bad Vibes were her exact words.”
“Sorry Val. I liked her.”
“I thought she’d make a great Vampire. Boy was I ever wrong. What are you doing for Halloween?”
I smiled and told my story to one more person. “We’ve been invited to a Harry Potter party and a Zombie party. So we’re going as the Weasleys on the 30th and Weasley Zombies on the 31st. I was going to stop at the thrift store to find some ugly sweaters. Wanna come with me?”
“You should go as Hagird. You know, like a little Hagrid.”
“I thought of that but Teddy said I had to, you know, be somewhat respectable.”
“He is such a Victorian. But that is what happens when you marry a guy who was born in 1849.”
We walked on down the hill until we could see where the outdoor ice rink would soon go in. It is usually tee shirt, or at the coldest sweatshirt weather here, even in the winter but we pretend we’re in a Winter Wonderland.
“I think Lilly is seeing someone. I mean seriously seeing someone. I could deal with that. It was just the way she brushed me off that hurt. We’ve been friends for years.”
“I’m sorry Val.”
“She said I was a pain in the neck.”
“Well? What did you expect?”
“No, seriously. She started to put two and two together and realized that her neck or wrists hurt when she saw me. She just assumed I was doing something sick and kinky like drugging her drink then doing weird bondage stuff. What is up with women these days? I would never…”
“You were too comfortable with her. You slipped up. It isn’t like you.”
“Mind if I come to the Zombie party with you?”
I smiled and put my arm around my brother’s shoulder. “You know you’re welcome. It will be a good crowd.”
As we got to my car I stopped and listened.
“Your Meadow Lark,” said Val.
“The song of Halloween,” I told him.
So sing your song like the Meadow Lark, because you might not think anyone is listening but they are. And if they aren’t listening feel free to call them out on it. We all deserve to be heard.
And have more coffee.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman