Garden Notes: Wednesday 1.30.2008
Falcon! There! In the sky. Wheeling, slowly gliding in the breezy air. Circling.
All the time in the world. Across the sky, the wide blue cloudless sunny sky. Circling.
One p.m. Bright sunny day. Cloudless.
A shaft of sunlight strikes the falcon on its back feathers. Rich, rich, brown gold. Deep rich illumined gold, burning, burnished, in a rich brown field. No light like sunlight.
The sun comes through the wings. Underneath, two large brown dots –like, it strikes me, a WWII RAF Spitfire plane. But these “dots” are large and dark and brown, against that light (latte) field.
The wing-tip feathers are bent, curved back, strong in the strong wind, subtly steering. Glide. Glide. Wheel, round and round, slowly. Large circles, slowly. Round and round.
Slow, slow wheel. Scanning.
Just…looking. (The consumer’s defence: “Just…looking”)
(“My” sparrows –without my particularly noticing it: I had been playing them a “new” song on the keyboard– had all retreated to their thick hedge.)
Above us all, the slow-wheeling falcon moves in its wide circle. At the same time it is drifting across the wide sky. Across the stage, moving ever so slowly, from right to left, from the trees on the ridge, into the wide, open expanse of sky.
And then, eventually, moves from view, behind the rooftops to the left.
(This falcon –a Peregrine, like all the others– seemed somewhat smaller than the big one I wrote about recently, but bigger than the young one that perched on the trellis, around the same time.)
After a “suitable” interval –we will have to take their word for it– the sparrows return, and soon after, the mourning doves. They resume feeding.
After a while, two of the mourning doves repair to the tree of heaven at the bottom of the garden. The rest of the doves fly off to a roost in the big trees.
A strong gust of wind blows some dead leaves off the roof in a sudden rising cloud. The two mourning doves fly off.
It is one thirty-one; time to go.
POSTSCRIPT (Or, perhaps, a PRESCRIPT.)
Oh, I forgot. Something happened earlier that now seems quite ….magical; quite poetic.
I had, as I mentioned, been playing my keyboard for the birds –part of my “experiments”– before I spotted the falcon.
Today, I am playing them a new song. Some of you know that I have a great love of Beatles songs, with a shorter list of real favorites. Yesterday, a “new” one came to me that had not previously been an especial favorite –the ethereal “Across the Universe”. I heard it quite by chance on the radio.
It seems that a tune can suddenly take on a richness previously unappreciated. Now, “Across the Universe” becomes that tune, the exact right tune for the moment, the only tune for me for now.
The surreal lyrics –John Lennon’s, I feel sure, though Paul can still surprise me– become a haunting poetry.
Poignant. Possessing. Sublime. Probably because of the current especially tawdry litany of events across our universe; events, perhaps, that for some reason seemed especially dispiriting yesterday.
What were those chords? I get out my Beatles book: E flat, G minor, F minor seventh, B flat. Beautiful.
And the words –“Words are flying out like endless rain into a paper cup….they slip away, across the universe.”
The slow long line of the melody, simple but majestic, unwinds. And resolves. It came back to me later –in truth it probably never left my mind, as a tune played before bed will often still be in your head in the morning.
Naturally, I got the idea to play it for my birds.
Did they “like” it? Well, they all gathered –the sparrows close together on the trellis, chest-feathers puffed out against the cold; the mourning doves arrayed on the small sycamore tree behind them.
The French Horn voice caught the attention of the doves. And –a new discovery– the sparrows had a distinct and lively response to the Recorder voice. (Upon reflection, I could find a rationale for both responses, considering the differences in the pitch of dove and sparrow song.)
Across the universe.