Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Bird in Town

I have to admit something. We moved in September so technically, I’m not Up in the Attic Lately anymore. I am living in an apartment duplex but I’m still at the top of the building though, okay?

With a move comes changes. It’s more urban here and bigger. There’s a bus system that runs until 8:30 pm, lots of library branches and a Fine Art Museum.

The change I’ve been thinking about lately is the birds. In the old house, in the attic I worked under the roof. I heard the birds scurrying around, their claws scratching the slate. Singing meant chickadees and sparrows. A repeated phrase of several notes spelled the longing call of my favorite blackbirds. And the cooing of the turtledove couples was either soothing or annoying, depended on the day. Squawking signaled the turf wars fought by crows in the giant oak tree.
The crows! I didn’t love them or hate them yet I couldn’t remain indifferent to them. They traveled in packs and dominated. They couldn’t share like those little songbirds. It had to be their oak tree. Their TV antenna perch. Their driveway. Their chimney pot— where they ate plums from our tree. I know because sometimes they’d drop one and boy, did that make a racket when it smacked the fireplace screen.

In this new place, I don’t hear the birds much. The double glazed windows have us sealed up tight. No spaces between roof slates to let in sounds. But I see the birds more. Mostly seagulls. Lots of gliding swooping seagulls. We live on the coast. Water is everywhere, ports and bridges abound. This apartment is surrounded by lots of open air space and has tons of windows. Birds dive onto the roof— close to the windows below the ledge then land out of sight and sound. The close-up views of them mid-flight is new to me. Yesterday, when I turned towards the window in the kitchen, I startled a seagull who had landed on the sill. This could not have been easy because seagulls are very big and the windowsills not so big. I was startled too. Daphne Du Maurier, Alfred Hitchcock and "The Birds" came to mind.

New Year and new town. I realize that it takes me awhile to get into a new place. I take small steps. Learned the bus lines. Joined a gym. Found a marché. Chose a café with excellent café crème as my hangout. Got a library card. Doesn’t seem like much but I also realize the value of small steps in life— and in my work. There’s been a lot of talk online about New Year’s resolutions as well as anti-resolutions, post-holiday slumps and procrastination. I’m familiar with these things but I’ve got to keep moving things forward. I’ll take small steps on some days and hope for more on others.

The view has changed. The birds are different. Onward ho!