A while back while waiting for a subway train, I watched a pigeon peck around here and there. He (since all pigeons are “he”s, at least to me anyway. And, yes I realize there is a slight flaw in my logic), bumbled around and, flustered by the oncoming train, even fluttered about the platform without any real purpose.
He looked casual as most pigeons do. Casual in the sense of “I am not looking at you,” “I am not looking at you,” but as soon as the coast seems to be clear here I come to rush the crumb of whatever it is that you just dropped. It has to be a tasty morsel! …or…a pebble you say? No matter, I was just casually passing by. I experience this behavior time and time again while having lunch near a small fountain surrounded by steps and various types of birds- none of them quite as casual as the pigeon.
Once the train settled into an indefinite stop, normal for a train hub, the pigeon settled itself back down on the platform. Still roaming looking for a handout, he began hopping in and out of the opened door of the waiting train car. I watched from a distance, this game of chicken he was playing, tempting the doors to close.
When the doors finally did, he, the pigeon was on board. I wonder what thoughts went through his head as the large metal doors slid shut with him on the wrong side of them. Where was he headed?
Maybe this was his plan all along. Him screwing up the courage to take that step, playfully almost so as not to bring on the anxiety of knowing full well that this was going to be a life changer, a journey of a lifetime. I wanted to be on that train, to be an observer of his wondrous train ride, but instead I was left in time on the platform, the pigeon’s train moving into an unknown future.
Am I just personifying my fellow pigeon? (A cardinal(?) sin when observing wildlife- even the life of a pigeon). Or was it a projection of my own dreams- getting on that train and taking the first step toward something new? This is possible as well. I cannot imagine what wondrous things the pigeon experienced, but as the train pulled away, I felt elation, a ray of hope that maybe I too can take that playful leap.