Original posting date was July 18, 2006
I wished my camera wasn’t in Minnesota, at that moment.
My feet hurt, from the heat of the deck boards, radiating still from the sun that had baked them all day. Sweat popping out immediately, even after the sun had set, the kind of heat that causes your breathing to feel off, as if there isn’t enough oxygen in the air.
Hazy, and perfectly still; and for whatever reason, not even cars on the road. The only things I could hear were the soft bubbling of the fountain in the pond, struggling to lift the water up, and the frogs croaking. As I stood, feeling the moisture running down my body, I saw a group of birds.
Apparently, they’d decided that the pond was a personal swimming pool; three, rather nondescript brownish gray birds, not quite looking like sparrows, too big- but I have no idea what they were. They fluttered on the rocks at the edge of the pond, occasionally dropping a wingtip in, and splashing a bit, and one looked to be ducking his head, for all the world like an overheated kid dunking his head under a drinking fountain at a park.
They’d babble to themselves, arguing and telling jokes, and I swear one of them was threatening to push the others in:
“Watch yourself, or you’re going swimming!”
“No way dude, not unless you go first!”
“I’m not getting in there; my mom will kill me if I get these feathers wet…”
Squawk, as her tormentor snuck up behind and almost, but not quite, dumped her.
Dancing around, and a couple times they’d fluff out their wings, outstretching them, just like the water birds were doing in the Everglades last spring- showing off, only these guys didn’t have the bright plumage of their tropical cousins.
They played until I laughed out loud at one particularly clear call of: “STOP, or I’m TELLING!”, and then flew into the woods, ducking low to the bushes, blending into the branches and out of sight.
I don’t normally get to just watch birds playing, around here- there’s always something “else” happening, kids or house chore, or on my way to work, or fire alarm… something, anyway.
I found it very peaceful, and it reminded me that even though things can get chaotic, the only thing that keeps me from enjoying the birds, and a little tiny quiet moment, is myself- that much of the noise is mental noise, and all I have to do is release it.
So a resolution- I’m going to take a minimum of 10 minutes a day, just to step outside, or stop outside, and listen and look.
Not for anything in particular, but to remember to keep my eyes and ears open.