Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Birds and People

I was walking around downtown when I came across a lady making friends. She was throwing bread crumbs for the local birds. They came swooping from the sky and huddled around her, eager to chomp up the bits of delicious morsels. She was stoic in her practice of feeding the birds, watching them with interest then sprinkling more crumbs for them. She was making friends where she could. Cities can be lonely places, and Seattle more than most. We have something called the Seattle Freeze which is one way the city's inhabitants perpetuates its own isolation from each other. Apparently, Washington is the 48th most extroverted state, which means we are state of introverts. But introverts are good at making friends with animals, and animals can make some of the most wonderful friends in the world.




I start work very early. I'm downtown before six in the morning. One morning, I saw a bunch of Seagulls flying in circles around one lit window in an apartment complex above a drugstore. The Seagulls squawked and dove toward the window. I saw a pale arm throwing something from the window. The mysterious arm was throwing breadcrumbs for the birds. The seagulls were like flying acrobats and did whatever they needed to to catch the food bits tumbling toward them. Four stories below them on the ground was a crowd of hungry pigeons, eating the scraps that the Seagulls couldn't catch fast enough. 

Some people think the Seattle Freeze happens because it is always gray and cloudy here. The lack of sunshine makes us tiresome of company. Some people think the Seattle Freeze happens because true Seattlites are descendants of pioneers with independent spirits, and hearts that sought out adventures is the solitude of unmanned wilderness.

Birds need to learn good inter-species social skills in order to migrate South together. They need to learn to fly in 'V's'. They need to learn to turn when the other's turn, to go up and down like a synchronized swimming team. They need to trust each other in order to get away from all the frost and to find food somewhere else, somewhere warm and full of promises of fat, juicy worms and roads paved in bird seed. 

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