Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bird on a wire; birds wired

I was driving on Route 1 near Camden the other day and saw a small raptor, a hawk of some kind, sitting on a telephone wire or Internet cable or whatever other marvel gets strung out along roads these days (not including commuters). It was perfectly still. Now traffic on Route 1 is busy even in September, especially in September, but our friend seemed completely unperturbed. Perhaps it had spied a bit of roadkill and was waiting for evening, or October, and a chance to swoop and snack. Perhaps it liked the rush of traffic, soothing like surf if you're not in it, I guess. In any case this individual hawk has made some kind of peace with the most destructive beast our civilization can offer, the automobile, grunting and gassing in packs just a few feet away from its perch. I can't necessarily apply such accommodation to its whole species, nor to ours.

The next morning I was sitting in my chair working (i.e., staring out the windows in front) when there was a thud on the window near the chair. It wasn't one of those loud thuds that instantly conjure up the death of a bird, but I got up to look anyway. Immediately, two blue jays in the cedar tree five feet away started shrieking, presumably at me. Whether one of them was the original thudee, or it was another bird altogether, these two were mad - or so I interpreted it. They were definitely looking through the glass at me, clearly hollering their heads off at me. It was so loud for a while that I started to think the original thud on the glass was not an accident at all but an attempt on my personage. They seemed more like a raptor than the hawk did, not at all happy with the way we humans take our places in the world, taking not finding, by the way, and with the way we then wall ourselves away behind steel and glass. What must it be like for birds to live so close to aliens!

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