Saturday, February 25, 2012

Feathered Mafia

Winter, at least how it parades itself throughout the Midwest, is not my favorite way to experience nature's majesty. However, its exposure revealing the lives normally hidden to us all other times of the year is such a gift. The trees bearing their bony souls share their harmonious parasites, (well, not always harmonious) at least those that remain here to tough it out through the cold spells and grayness of the winter skies, believing in the future of better weather.  

I recognize, against the tempting sun, it is cold and make sure to bundle myself, steel myself against winter’s blustery winds and various forms of chilling precipitation.  The birds, on the other hand, have no such comfort. They can only rely upon the fluff of their feathery undercoat and slick rain coat like layer of beautiful plume to protect them from the same weather I disdain venturing out in. They go about their lives in balanced harmony with nature, something most of us could never and would never attempt to do.

Today, from the comfort of my drafty apartment, I sit and watch a beautiful woodpecker. It, likely unaware of my voyeurism, diligently pecks away at the dormant maple sitting idly across the street awaiting spring.  

A couple days before, while walking the neighborhood, I listened to an encoded communication between several feathered secret agents, chattering along from tree to tree, telephonically. Maybe they were diplomats in conference to determine to whom this territory belongs. From the look of things, I, the outsider, would probably assert with certainty this territory belonged to the pigeons. They seem to lay claim to the local food source guarding it with their sentries against most, although the starlings still receive some rations, be it through trickery or truce.  
The lives of our feathered brethren, their communications, habits and wars usually pass unnoticed beneath the cover of foliage, be it green, yellow, orange or fiery red. Winter, exposes us to the aviary underworld and its glorious complexities. I am looking forward to the time when the sun isn’t lying and it is again pleasant enough to roam comfortably uncovered, but while it lasts I will continue to eavesdrop upon my feathered neighbors listening for the coming of spring.