Saturday, March 13, 2010

The everywhere bird

The Green-Eyed Doctor took this shot outside a cafe in Melbourne. There the real pigeons were handling the skull-crushing summer weather with the usual pigeony cockroachish adaptability, loafing in the shade and wetting their feet in the gutters. Sparrows danced under the cafe tables picking up sugary, buttery overspray and I saved my shower water to put on the tomato plants in the garden.

There are pigeons here, too. Slotted snugly against tree trunks, round with foofy insulating feathers, watching the weather warming up. Not for the them the cold just-uncovered cobbles or the slushy puddles. Distant shapes in der Linden out my kitchen window. Coffee-making wallpaper.

Cambridge had pigeons. Of course. Fat grey strutters hanging out in slitty-eyed posses on Great St Mary's lawn. Rearranging their wings like a hair-flick lined up on whatever plasterwork wasn't spiked or netted. Every now and then a spectacularly built racer with day-glo ankle rings gang-bossing the yard. A white dove from King's, or one of the many King's bastards with almost all the right gunmetal street-pigeon livery.

The everywhere bird. But German pigeons know how to be themselves and not other things. German pigeons.

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