Spring Morning

Kisses of Spring

Meadowlark singing on fence post,
ducks dabbling on the slough,
the cry of a pair of Canada geese
overhead, as they hurry on through.

The woods beside us now waken
with sound at first morning light;
I spy a flock of some kind of birds
silent and northward their flight

These are the kisses of springtime,
the sights and the sounds that delight.
Oh no! While I’m here rhapsodizing
our landscape is fast turning white.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Good Morning from our house. The dawn was rather misty when I first looked out and I saw this flock of birds winging over the field beside us. Small ducks, maybe? I let the cats out and sat back to enjoy the coming of spring.

A pair of Canada geese have been around for a week; the ducks and meadowlark we saw Sunday on the way to church. I could hear small birds twittering in the woods yesterday as I went out for a walk. Sunny days and south winds have melted most of the snow in our yard. Last week the driveway was muddy, but by yesterday it had almost completely dried off. Oh, the joys of warmer weather!

As I enjoyed my morning coffee this morning a poem came to me, so I fired up the computer and started to write. I hadn’t quite decided how to finish off, though — until I looked outside again and saw the air full of snow. Our poor cats huddled on the back step, turning white along with everything else.

A sad surprise indeed. Poor little birds! And no wonder that flock was winging it in such a hurry, probably looking for a place to shelter. Oh, well. I shall carry on with my sewing project, a dress for myself, and forget about taking a long walk in the sunshine.

A Lively Drummer

Happy “First Day of Spring” to everyone in the Northern Hemisphere. Though it doesn’t look very much like spring here, a friend reports seeing a flock of Canada geese fly over. To celebrate the day, I’ll reblog this story from a few years back:

Once upon a time there was an old man and an old woman who lived in an old mobile home right next to the woods. This old couple had reached that phase of life so aptly expressed by the poet:
“Those difficult days have come and lit:
too tired to work; too poor to quit.”

One afternoon the old woman, ready for a nice nap, plopped her weary self into her recliner and closed her eyes. A few minutes later she heard a curious sound:

Scritch … Scritch … Scritch

Now this woman, in addition to being old and tired, was also hard of hearing. In this case her handicap made it difficult to judge where the sound was coming from. It seemed to filter in from some peripheral place — a hard-shelled bug tapping on the window, perhaps, or a bird hopping on the roof?

SCRITCH … SCRITCH … SCRITCH

Now it could be a student shut in one of the trailer’s back bedrooms rooms half-heartedly pecking away on a manual typewriter. It would take him years to get an essay done at that rate.

Then the old woman remembered she was hard of hearing. Was the source of the sound a lot closer than she first thought? Had some brave mouse ventured out to nibble at the cat food sitting on the dining room floor? Her eyes popped open and she looked toward the cat food dish in the dining area. No mouse.

Now all was silent, so she reclined and shut her eyes. Such a tiny sound she could ignore. Zzz..

CLANK CLANG CLANK CLANG

The old woman jumped from her chair. This was more like a chainsaw chewing rapid-fire through a drain pipe. She hurried through the trailer, checking every room, but saw nothing spinning or vibrating that could produce a sound like that.

Some madman must be chain-sawing his way through the trailer wall! What else could make such a racket? She rushed outside to let this fellow know he dare not mess with her. (Okay, a bit of fiction added to embellish the tale. 🙂 )

She saw no one, no reason for this awful noise. The only living thing she saw was a northern flicker on the roof peering down at her curiously. He was sitting on the chimney…

Oh.

The flicker, deciding she was a wingless, harmless creature, went back to his task of drilling a hole in the steel disc protecting their chimney, producing an identical CLANK CLANG CLANK CLANG

Perhaps the bird was excited about his ability to produce such a rousing sound, but the old woman had never been a fan of heavy metal. Offering a harsh critique of his music, she persuaded him to do his drumming somewhere else.

Industrial Sparrow

Sparrow alone.jpg

Sparrow on the warehouse step
huddled against the March wind
a bit of fluff on the splattered steel
searching for a crumb.

No food for you, poor bird,
unless you find in the dumpster;
among the trash and flattened boxes
some workman’s lunch leavings,
a stale office-party doughnut.

Only cardboard, steel, concrete
in the industrial section of town.
We make the ovens, the baking pans,
and hopefully some dough to share
but no bread for shivering waifs.

Scrapping

Sparrows

They squabble like humans,
these sparrows tussling over
fallen seeds under my feeder.
Silly birds! They can’t comprehend
a big bag of feed in my garage

poured out fresh daily,
Food for all, yet they threaten
and buffet each other;
little warlords disputing division,
eyes fixed on the last crust,
while fresh loaves brown in the oven.

As if there’ll never be enough,
as if each one must have it all
or starve. Or do they simply enjoy
scrapping? So much like people!

Living Up High

I can’t remember the writing prompt for which I wrote this little tale; maybe an exercise in dialogue or a story about city living. But I did it awhile ago for The Write Practice and now I’ll reprint it here.

THE PERILS OF LIVING HIGH

Pigeons overlook park.jpg“Back again, Flutter.” Grayson made a wide loop and landed beside his mate. “The place looks good so far, though I’d be quite happy if they’d stop right now. It’s a comfortable height for us; if they go much higher we won’t be able to sit on the roof at all.”

Flutter murmured her disapproval. “These humans seem to have gone mad with wanting to hover up in the clouds. It’s ridiculous. Give me a nice twelve-storey building any day.”

The two of them sat on the balcony rail of the hotel at the corner of Franklin Street and watched the crane lifting up even more steel girders for the new apartment building going up a few blocks away.

“It’s going to be a dandy when it’s done,” said Grayson. “I’ve put our name in for a light fixture on the eleventh floor. As you say, no point trying for a penthouse. It does looks like this is another one that’s going up into the clouds. We’d be dizzy all day long looking down from that height.”

“And the danger to our fledglings being blown off a roof that high.”

“I was along with several others on this reconnaissance flight. We especially checked out those fancy outside floodlight fixtures. They’re just the ticket, dear. Far enough from the wall to build our nests behind and they’ll keep our toes warm in winter. Hope these humans don’t get some silly notion about shutting the lights off at night.”

Flutter bobbed her head up and down. “The location couldn’t be better! Right next to the park. But I sure wish that old man would come again. You know, the one who always filled his jacket pockets with birdseed and encouraged us sit on his shoulders to eat it.

Feeding pigeons.jpgGrayson agreed. “I do miss him. Walking breakfast bar, he was. I wonder why he never comes anymore? Well, anyway, there are always kiddies dropping their bags of popcorn.
“I just wish we lived father away from those dratted peregrines. Since they’ve taken over the roof of the Delta Inn life has been a constant struggle for survival for downtown pigeons.”

“Let’s not even think about them.” Flutter shuddered. They’d already lost a number of relatives to peregrine falcon attacks.

“Bloodthirsty birds,” Grayson squawked. “Wish the airplanes flying over would take every last one of them out.”

He rubbed Flutter’s cheek with his own. “I do think we’re going to be quite cozy in our new digs. And it’s always interesting to watch the traffic below. We’ll just have to be sure and get a sheltered spot to build our nest.” They were both quiet a moment remembering the high winds that blew their nest away last year, grieving for the four almost-hatched eggs they lost.

In spite of the nice tall buildings humans were constantly erecting for them, living downtown was always perilous.

The Last One Out

Apparently some study once showed that nicotine is ten times as addictive as heroin. It’s harder to quit smoking than it is to quit “crack.” Friday Fictioneers must be somewhere in the middle — it’s pretty hard to quit, too.

Every Wednesday, in the wee hours, the Blue Frog express chugs out of the station over at Word-shy Wisoff-Fields’ blog. This Inlinkz engine carries the precious prompt photo to some terrific, but ever-so-terse, writers. One by one they hitch their links to the express and off it goes around the globe collecting tales. To see all the links, go to Rochelle’s blog and click the blue frog under the prompt photo — which, by the way, belongs to Douglas MacIlroy and you may not use it without his permission.

I thought I had nothing to share this time around, and no time, either. But a few days ago I was reading about Compassion International worker Dan Woolley, who had the misfortune to spend three days trapped in his hotel lobby after Haiti was hit by a big earthquake. (The title of his book is UNSHAKEN.) Then yesterday thoughts started coming together, this story emerged, and I felt I should post it. Initially a longer and more detailed account but I managed to pare it down.

(Note: “Wings of a Dove” was a country-gospel song written by Bob Ferguson in 1958.)

Photo prompt Douglas M MacIlroy

The Last One Out

Ashton regained consciousness, remembered the hotel floor shaking, walls cracking. His head throbbed; dust gagged him. He shifted some, found one leg was pinned. He tried calling, only managed a squeak.

The ground trembled again. Aftershocks. Plaster crumbled; he prayed the ceiling a metre above him wouldn’t fall. His throat was a chalkpit.

Hours later he heard rustling. Rats? No. Somebody’s bird!

“M’aidez,” the myna squawked.

He grabbed it. Keep singing, sailor.

“M’aidez! M’aidez!” it screamed.

Two hours later help reached him. “We thought no one here survived. Haitian workers heard you calling.”

“On wings of a dove,” Ashton whispered.