Thursday, April 22, 2010

Melancholy Distraction - Birds in Flight

There is a downside to Spring. It comes upon the wind and makes me regret I was ever born with a nose. There is an upside as well. It comes upon wings and greets my ear with melody. I could focus on the downside. I certainly can't ignore it. My nose and eyes bear the brunt of Spring's renewal today.

Green Assault

However, considering that the downside has both my immunity system and my spirits in the dumps, I think I'd rather focus on the upside.

As you know by now, I have purchased an iPad and given my very happy eighteen year old my "BlacBook" for college. This has been a sacrifice for me since the iPad—only three weeks old—lacks the applications I need to replace my MacBook fully. I manage by doing part of my writing on the iPad, then running downstairs to the aging Mac Mini to finish marking up and posting the article.

The other day I was working on an ADDaboy! article on my iPad. I poked at the screen. Thought a bit. Poked some more. Looked out the back door. Poked at the page and played with the artificial physics as I slid it up and down…

Truly, a master at work.

Then I noticed a flash of color outside the back door. At that height, it had to be a bird, but it couldn't be. Not that close to the door.

I continued to not work on my article when I noticed the flash of color again. This time I caught the bright ochre splash of a medium-size bird's underside as it near the top of my door again. Now here was something far more interesting than my article. I deemed it was time for a break and headed outside, iPhone camera in hand.

Immediately I could hear the fierce, hungry chirping of chicks with a need. Their chirps were louder and deeper than those I usually heard around my apartment building. I turned the corner and headed to the only candidate—one lone tree on the other side of the fence.

Searching for birds

Before the city forced the denizens of the White Manor motel park out of their homes and off the property, there were trees aplenty to shade us from the sun and give cover for the birds of the neighborhood. Now tall condominiums block out the sun like stark monoliths towering over us. Even still, one scruffy pine remained.

It's trunk was covered in dead vines that had yet to escape Winter's clutches, but the tree still stood strong. I could hear the chicks from within it's sparse branches, and a dark flutter escaped before I could reach it. As I stared into the branches for a clue, I only saw a finch. I was puzzled, but disappointed. Finch chicks don't make the ALL CAPS chirps these hungry critters were belting out. I took a few shots with my iPhone, even lying down to get a dynamic angle.

I laid there on my back, thinking of my article as well as worrying about my eighteen year old. I also wondered what the neighbors would think if they came through their door at that moment and found me lying down at the foot of their steps.

There she is!

Suddenly the bird I had been searching for stepped out of the shadows to look expectantly where the other bird had flown. It's entire breast was a rich ochre color, but as striking as that was, I could not identify it. I took more shots, then the bird, which I assumed to be the mother, alighted to the roof of my apartment. It disappeared for a moment, then reappeared and warbled to the missing spouse. Disappeared again, then reappeared a few feet away to warble again anxiously. Dinner was late.

Telling Hubby to get a move on with that food

As I returned to my desk to continue working, I couldn't stop thinking about how anxious I was to have my first chick leave her nest. I had spent all the years of her life preparing her for this day to be strong, independent, and ready to take on the world, but had never prepared myself to let her go. What a sad, poignant irony.

Family needs interfered with more writing, and I finished the article another day, but I do not regret the time spent hunting for that bird. My mind needed the opportunity to work out what had been troubling it. My daughter and I are so similar, so independent, that we often clash passionately—our hot-headed Italian & Irish blood mingling into a volatile reaction. I know she often thinks of me only as the man who tries to keep her in the nest, and she resents me for it. I hope that one day she will see that I've actually been giving her flying lessons since I taught her how to hold her own bottle. I can see a little further ahead than she can, and have always been careful not to let her get too far out.

On Saturday she flies on her own. Even though I may not be, I know she is finally ready.