Sunday, May 17, 2009

Spring is the Dominion of Birds

With spring well on its way, I feel like I'm living in the middle of a gigantic aviary. Surrounding the house, a dozen different birds zoom about, from doves building nests to small sparrowish birds fighting mid-air for precious territory, their wings fluttering against each other like a thousand swords clashing. Or perhaps they're mating. Courtship can seem more battle than love, anguish a certain hue.

For the most part, the birds ignore me as part of the useless background. And sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't be a bit more helpful. Like when I'm watching the doves squeal frantically as they carry heavy sticks from one side of the property to the other, having to rest on a lower limb to gather strength before making that last surge up to their building site. It's hard to resist helping, piling up a handful of sturdy twigs at the base of their site and hoping they'll see my act as helpful and not hostile. But it's hard to know and ignorance brings inertia, so instead, I sit on my garden chair, reading my book, finally falling deaf to the hum of birds until, from my peripheral vision, I see color and motion, and I look up, face to face with a hummingbird. Startled, I can't help yelping. The bird jumps back a foot — I expect it to fly away, but it doesn't, hovering midair, staring at me with great curiosity, a beautiful little rust colored thing — and it's strange, how I get this funny feeling I'm in a Disney cartoon and laugh as the bird flies away.