Jan 29, 2009

Birds Of A Feather

I was going to post a long, whiny rant about my new burglar alarm installation that went horribly awry today, but I figure I'm a leetle close to the (edit) edge right now to be talking about it with any sort of clarity, so instead, how about I flip you the bird?

Or maybe five of 'em?

The photo is a little oddly coloured because I was shooting through my office window just after dawn on a very cold and overcast day. That's the front yard at work, you see. It was right around freezing, and there was an 85% humidity level or so, along with a completely solid cloud cover, so I decided that discretion was the better part of not freezing my harbles off so I stayed inside and shot through my front window.

Every morning I ride in, crack the ice off my visor and head inside to the warmth of the pre-dawn office. Every morning my co-workers trickle in over the next hour, and as the sun finally rises my three friends arrive. They glide silently in on wide, outstretched wings and alight nimbly in the dun-coloured grass out front. They fan out slowly in that curiously slow walk that birds who are used to feeding in water or tall grass use, and they begin to eat the feast of nearly frozen bugs that the night has left them.

There's always three. Never less than three and often as many as five, but the core group, that three, always arrive each morning. They make me think of a trio of young men who always hang out at the same lamp post on the same busy street. They've got no jobs, and have no place to be and all day to get there so they all meet up every morning and smoke cigarettes and talk and watch the pretty girls walk by in their high heels and hose.

Those birds give me a lift. When someone decides to park the Crazy Bus out front of the office and the driver starts to send in the lunatics two and three at a time
with the hissed instructions "Go find Irrelephant and give him hell" it's nice to know that I can stop for a moment, peer out the front window and see those white bodies slowly working their way around the yard, just...living. No more, no less. I know that if I were alive or dead they'd still be there, doing what they have to. If I worked somewhere else they'd still be there. When I'm long dead and buried there will still be cowbirds somewhere, walking around the grass in that slow, stilted gait.

They're not out there worrying about how cold it is, even though once in a while one will pick a foot up and tuck it in to warm it (look carefully at the photo again, count legs and divide by two.) They're not fretting over the burglar alarm installer guy alone in their house, nor are they wondering if they're going to get laid off from work. No, they just look for the next little frozen morsel in the grass, make sure to keep their heads more or less pointed into the wind (cold gusts blowing underneath feathers makes for a hell of a chilblain) and they just keep going. They're just standing around smoking cigarettes, talking in low voices, admiring the pretty girls.

And occasionally some schmuck manages to take a photo right before one of the boys takes off and it looks like he's straining to take a really huge dump.


Gordo said...

Long may they have that lamp post to lean against and a unending supply of smokes.

Clowncar said...

How do you know it's the same three birds every time? I think all the cowbirds in the world probably have an elaborately planned schedule, using linked worldwide databases and a randomizer, so that they can take turns standing out your window, tricking you into thinking it's the same birds every time.

Me, I know better.

Maggie said...

Did you just try to get me to divide numbers?
I don't care how lovely your picture is, you can't make me do arithmetic at any time of day.