[journal menu]

[home page]

[Oakland Cam]

[email the Prop]

[sign guestbook]

[view guestbook]

[100 Books List]

[Other Journals]

Store window on the way to work.
September 21st, 1999

I read Viv's journal this morning describing her visit to an Australian beach besieged by sun flower seed seeking parrots dressed in gaudy primary colored morning coats and laid back kangaroos lounging near the water's edge waiting their turn to be fed and scratched under the chin. The birds made me sit up. Where are the birds around here? True, Viv is out in the countryside on something called Pebbly Beach (Pebble Beach? Pebbly Beach? I have difficulty with Pebbly Beach, although it may sound better with an Australian accent.) and not in downtown Melbourne or Sydney or some other Oakland size burg where the birds would be pigeons, albeit Australian pigeons. Or are there parrots in downtown Sydney? Budgerigars in Brisbane?

Where are the Oakland birds? Do cities have birds? Pigeons, yes, but pigeons aren't robins or The Solano Stroll parade swallows or finches or crows, they're pigeons. They sold out for Twinkies and old sandwich bits. I grew up in a wooded area north of Seattle on Puget Sound where I remember the birds and they remember me, the BB gun kid, who, quite honestly, pretty much left them alone. But where are they around here? (insert not very learned insecticide polemic) Maybe they're in the hills, hanging out with the high end house set, distaining any intercourse with flatlanders and their pigeons. They banned DDT, after all. Pelicans came back from the grave in the 1970's, I saw one in 1976 near Mission Rock in San Francisco. He was alive, he was flying. How many birds were there in Ballard, a suburb of Seattle, when I was five, a place not unlike the area I live in now? I don't remember. As many as there are now? How many birds were there in that wooded area north of Seattle? I remember them, but how many? You don't necessarily count when you're ten. Nobody was worried about DDT. No parrots landing on your arm looking for sunflower seeds, of course, but there were robins, hummingbirds, woodpeckers and seagulls and once, over near Eric's, a bluejay who was obviously just passing through.

Actually, I seem to recall something about the number of cats that now live in our cities. The number of hungry cats foraging for the litter in the basement behind the couch. Birds make good dinners. So maybe I'll stop. Wuss is even now out on the balcony staring intently at something in the Magnolia tree. I just heard a "chirp!"

The banner photograph was taken through a store window on the way to work. The out of focus kid was taken at the Solano Stroll.