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!

20 comments:

  1. Lovely, Dana, both the post and sketches. My first apartment in Italy was a teeny affair on the roof of a building - so I had to sleep standing up, but I had a huge terrace...which in May I discovered was the yearly home of a large family of swallows. Made a mess of the terrace, but I loved to watch them swoop. I also fell in love with the gazza, that elegant black and white bird with nary a feather out of place. :)

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    1. Thanks, Renee;
      I had to google "gazza". Turns out I do know this bird: magpie or in French simply, "pie" (pronounced pee). It is a pretty bird (related to the crow) and supposedly very smart but I've also heard they're mean: they eat the eggs of other birds! Oh well! it's a jungle out there ;)

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  2. I agree with Renee, lovely post and sketches. I miss the sea birds where we lived in Alaska. The birds here in SD are fine, but it is just not the same. Maybe it was the ocean view and seeing them catch salmon. I do miss the birds here in the winter time. In the spring, it is so busy outside. Right now, all is quiet most of the time, save for a random blue jay or an owl in the neighborhood. Happy 2012

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    1. Thanks and Happy 2012 to you too, Loni! Wow-- Alaska & South Dakota make me think of wide open spaces and cold. You're so lucky to have owls in your neighborhood!

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    1. Thanks, Susanne! Nice to know you stopped by!!

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  4. I know how it is when you stop for a moment and let your eyes wander out of a window. I love the intimacy of your writing - I sense the flux of daily life through these observations - the sounds under the roof before, the views of outspread wings now. Yes, the small steps into 2012.

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    1. Hi Betsy! Thanks for your comments--I'm so glad you liked the post. All the best in 2012!

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  5. Small steps. Good advice. Birds take small steps right?

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  6. These sketches are really great. It's so interesting how certain birds and animals are associated with specific places, and you don't even realize it until you move somewhere else and you start to notice the new birds, animals, and plants.

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    1. Hi Sylvia! So true. It's a really positive aspect of moving.

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  7. Hi Dana, I just dropped by today to let you know that I awarded you the Liebster Award for your blog. I highlighted your blog in my post. Visit this post on my blog to learn all about it.
    http://pennyklostermann.com/2012/02/08/liebster-award/

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    1. Hi Penny! Wow! I'm honored. :) I'm going to run over to your blog and check this out right now. Thanks so much!!

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  8. Ackkk! I come here to let you know that I have awarded you the Liebster award only to find out that Penny has beat me to it. Well, hope you are feeling plenty of love. You can find my post nominating you at http://picturebookinspirations.blogspot.com/2012/02/feel-love.html

    I love your bird drawings. I know how it takes a while to settle into a new place. Looks like you are doing a fine job of it. I find those first months in a new place exhilarating. Anything seems possible. Hope you are having a lovely day.

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    1. Hi Lynda! Thanks! The Liebster Award is such a nice one. You're right--I'm feeling the love! I'm going to get busy and see who I can nominate. :)
      PS: Hope your Dad is doing well.

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  9. Hi Dana! What a lovely blog, and such beautiful drawings! I wanted to let you know that I awarded you the Liebster award. Apparently you are hitting the jackpot this month! You can see details on my blogpost: Liebster Blog Award-Spreading the Love http://jenniferkirkeby.blotspot.com/
    Also, my maiden name is Carey. We're not related are we? ;-)

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    1. Hi Jennifer! Thank you so much! I'm going to check out your blog asap. I've got some Liebster-ing to do!
      And who knows? Long-lost cousins? ;-)

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  10. Beautiful drawings, Dana! I missed this lovely post ( on the day of my birthday, btw). By now you must have taken many little steps and are nicely settled in to your new home!

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  11. I love your bird drawings, Dana! Enjoy your new home, the sea and all the new steps it brings. :)

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