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November 18, 2008

City Life

There is something joyful about small plants sprouting from sidewalk cracks and the surprise sudden scent of Jasmine wafting through the park. Trees stark and bare in winter, spring buds, summer shade and, my favorite, colored leaves all around and falling. The stunning array of trees. 

My special favorites are the Magnolias in St Mark's churchyard with their enormous waxy cream and pink blossoms and the Flowering Pears along the streets in the Spring. Then the chartreuse leaves of the Ginko in Autumn.

Sapphire Morning Glories and bright pink Clematis on the wrought iron fence of the community garden.

Falcons, Pigeons, Crows, Starlings, Robin Red Breasts and Sparrows with occasional visits by an Ovenbird and several years ago, an imposing Raven in Rittenhouse Sq.  Their lives lived over roofs, on ledges, in trees and bushes, on pavements and in gutters. Some so small on impossibly skinny legs, who dive and grab an unshelled double peanut and then take off. 

Pigeons with missing toes and crippled feet touch my heart. 
Randy males fanning their tails and cooing, chasing the "girls" in the Spring. 

A Crow couple collecting twigs for their nest on a gray day on Camac St.

Another pair on the Farm Journal roof  commenting loudly.

Just past 8th on Locust, a sudden swoop of fluttering Pigeons descends from a roof across the street mistaking me for another woman who comes with food in her cart. 

Maybe, humans with shopping carts all look alike. 
Next time I bring sunflower seeds, but feed them in the nearby park.

Acrobatic Squirrels spend their days rummaging on the ground frequently interrupted  by chasing dogs and children and occasionally a prowling cat. Sensing danger, they hop a tree trunk all facing the same way and chatter and flick their tails in united alarm until the threat passes.

Defying gravitational logic, posed upside down on a tree trunk eating an acorn.

One morning I smile at an old man offering them treats from his pocket. As I pass he whispers that he likes the squirrels better than most people.

Cats sit in windows, silently watching the passing scene and the dogs of every size, breed, age and color walk, run, pull, chase, sniff, bark accompanied by their people (who many resemble) plastic bags over their hands. 

Always a good excuse to talk to a stranger.

Waiting by the Park for the 12 bus late last Saturday afternoon, suddenly a loud SQAWCK!! followed by a swoop of Pigeons over head. Then from the north, more shrieks.

Turns out, there is a loose Parrot high up in a tree and man trying to lure him down.

Today the bus came too soon.

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