“A starling blue jay,” said the friendly stranger as we both stood attendant to the squawking bird. The bird seemed angry or frustrated. It was loud and beautiful. The man said he’d never seen a starling in Strathcona before. I wondered how this man knew what type of bird it was? I wondered if everyone knew more about birds than me. The jay was large compared to a robin, one the few birds I can name, and it was more formidable. It’s silken feathers were a deep blue and it’s crown a plumbing azure. It pecked the earth with his long beak, and squawked loudly like there was danger. When it flew to a top branch in the large Maple, it quieted except for its tapping on the rain darkened bark. Was it finding bugs? Was the tree infested with bugs, sick like so many other trees?
The friendly man told me he had also seen two eagles that morning. His eyes sparkled as he spoke. Then he turned, and walked away with his little brown dog, diminishing in size on the sidewalk shaded by looming trees. I was looking high into the nearly bare branches on that cold, fall day when a mother with two small children, and a stollered baby passed. The children wore mittens and caps, their clothes a cacophony of mixed bright colors in the golden reflection of fallen leaves.
I’ve always noticed birds, but I was noticing them more because I had just finished Kyo Maclear’s memoir. I was thankful for her tiny book so full of large wisdom, thankful that earlier when I heard a bird I thought of the passage about city birds and how they have adjusted their songs to be heard above city’s noises. I thought, maybe I could do the same, maybe I could learn to adjust my pitch to be heard. But while gazing into the tree, I wasn’t thinking about sound, I was awed by this stranger in the neighbourhood, this unusual bird. At a distance, it’s colors were not as vibrant and my eyes started to wander to many, hidden, tiny birds flitting in the branches, tiny finches with yellow chests. They seemed to be partaking in a furtive, directionless dance. I lowered my gaze, moving on and watched a crow lift a leaf under which he found a hidden morsel as a black squirrel darted across the street.
Not really a Biography
I have always been inclined to move forward, roll the stone, down, and often up, hills. I've tried to write through it all. Everything on this blog is written by me.