Howdy, Bards of Caer Pugetia. Mistress Administrivia has kindly allowed me to post on the site; many thanks to her.
I’m writing on my back porch smack in the city on this fine May day. There is birdsong–finches, chickadees, wrens, pigeons, robins, crows (OK, not exactly singing, but very chatty), the occasional gull–the wind is having an important conversation with the trees; all the lively natural things we concern ourselves with are making themselves heard, seen and known. Being in the city, I get extra: the sweep and hum of cars, the scrape of skateboards, a child in the neighboring apartment building testing the range and strength of his voice (considerable), and the theme music to Star Wars floating out from a window somewhere above me, adding a touch of drama.
Having spent many hours out here in sun, shade, rain, snow and hail (that was fun), I’ve learned that the fence between my porch and the dumpsters, recycle and compost bins acts as an avian pit stop, especially for the fat and glossy crows who gorge themselves on all the myriad treats humans throw away. A chubby robin redbreast who has found himself some breakfast, two tiny sparrows; they all like to pause for a bit on the fence, arrange their treats more comfortably or groom themselves, take a poop and move on.
And the human beings! Also of nature, natural, but not entirely. We have gorgeous cultural productions, millions of glittering distinctions among us; there are few true human universals. Music is one–every known extinct and extant culture has it or had it–and being a city bard, I have observed another. All children, regardless of perceived race, class or religion chase pigeons. As soon as they can walk, or at least stagger around like drunken sailors, chasing pigeons is imperative. One pigeon will do, but the true prize is a big group of eight or nine who explode into noisy flight while the crows cheer or chastise.
In the park, the homeless guys pass beer and bellow at each other, defining territory like bull deer. I’ve never seen anyone lock horns; they just holler for a while and the winner is usually a tall, skinny black man with an enormous white Afro and a huge bass voice. He’s so scrawny, I wonder where he keeps it. Of course he plays the guitar and of course he sings the blues, sitting on the concrete steps by the skate park.
The spirits of place, nature and deity thrive here, especially in May when windows are open and walls seem thinner, when robins sing, the Tie Fighters attack the X-Wings and the parrot who lives across the street commentates vigorously on all the clatter and movement of spring in the city.