bunt sign

Tuesday, May 8, 2001

Some birds are like me. They find a perch where they have a good view of the world around them, and then they sit and watch. They change perches when it's necessary or convenient, but sometimes they don't move for what must seem like an eternity in bird time.

Mockingbirds are like that. They have so many songs in their heads that if they get bored, they just sing. Sometimes they'll like one song so much that they'll sing it — or just a few notes — over and over and over. (Kind of the way I was with "Don't Rain on My Parade" while I was working in the garden this afternoon. I don't know where it came from, but I couldn't get rid of it. I don't even know most of the words, so it was just a couple of lines, over and over and over.)

Other birds live the way I wish I could, always on the wing, swooping and soaring. If I were a bird, I think I might like to be a swallow. They look (and sound) as if they're enjoying every minute of every day.

Why don't I live that way (or the human equivalent) now? I'm so comfortable in my routine that I rarely take flight spontaneously. When I move, it's with a purpose, and for a reason, and planned into the schedule. (Either that, or it's because someone has given me a shove.)

The baby black phoebes are going further and further from the nest these days, and staying away longer and longer. But they always come back, and when they're close to home they revert to the old ways — short flights from one fence post to the next, never very far off the ground.

That seems a sensible way for them to flex their wings. The whole world is available to them, but they know how to find their way home. They go vertical because they can, but they're just as content to go horizontal. They might not sing like a mockingbird or soar like a swallow, but in a way they have it all.

where I cleared out the blackberries

Lest anyone think I'm a monster for trying to flood out the gopher, let me just say that the hose only goes into the holes close to the house. I have a huge yard, and the fields beyond are massive. I don't think it's too much to ask this creature to give me my space.

And to reinforce my humanitarian credentials, I offer my catch-and-release program for spiders. If I find a spider inside the house, I put a jar over it, slide a piece of paper underneath, and transport it to the far end of the yard.

It probably didn't want to move outside. It definitely didn't apply for relocation. But I believe that given a choice (as much as it could evaluate the alternatives, anyway), it would prefer a new chance in a strange place to being squashed and/or flushed.

That's a fate I reserve for flies and mosquitoes. No mercy, don't even ask.

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