Love In The Treetops
A friend, a man who has been single for a number of years, wrote to say that he’s been feeling down in the mullygrubs. He said he’s probably just feeling lonesome. He’s considering jump-starting a romance, even though he thinks he might be headed the wrong direction.
I’m not one to sneer at romance in any form. My inclination, and I suspect my friend does likewise, is that when I meet somebody I tend to color in the blank spots to fit the pattern I want to see. That’s never worked for me yet.
Since I live in such a place and in such a way that I don’t meet available men, romance is a moot point. But I have to confess that the last few days I’ve been wishing—well, I don’t even know how to form my wish.
This vague dissatisfaction began while I was sitting out on my back patio in the shade of the jacaranda tree, watching birds.
Ah, the birds. The birds of Jalisco look like flowers in the treetops—splashes of color, reds, yellows, oranges and blues. I can, and do, watch them for hours. Which is exactly what got me into this slump.
Instead of celebrating their beauty, I noticed the birds are all in pairs. Hims and hers. All of them. That’s not possible. There’s got to be extras. Old maids. Hermits. Curmudgeons of the feathery variety. I’m not seeing them.
When I do spot a single bird, sitting on a wire, chirrup, chirrup; in swoops a mate, and shameless behavior begins. They don’t have to flaunt it, do they?
The lovebirds are the worst offenders. No wonder I feel lonely. These are quail doves, according to my Mexican bird book, smaller than our mourning doves, with a prettier coo, and entirely lacking in inhibitions, which is why I call them lovebirds.
There is another bird, quite handsome, that has a call that sounds like a wolf whistle. I kid you not. First time I heard it, I almost sprained my neck, twisting around to see from whence it came. I hadn’t heard a wolf whistle in forty years. So, it wasn’t meant for me; still, I thanked Senor Bird. At my age, I take it where I can get it.
Critters provide me unending entertainment. If flower petals had wings, they’d be butterflies. Like the birds, butterflies display an amazing array of color combinations. The bed sheets, not their official name, are back. I’ve seen four of them so far. Up close, these huge white butterflies have the most delicate black edging, like lace.
Lizards of unending sizes, colors and types, iguanas, bunny rabbits (cotton-tail variety), squirrels; every critter is paired. You’d think the Ark just came to rest on the mountaintop, the door dropped down, and two by two, the animals march off to do what they do in the Spring-time.
I don’t resent my avian friends. Envy, yes. Resent, no. How could I resent creatures which so enthusiastically greet the morning?
At first light, before the actual sun is even a hint on the horizon, the many-membered chorus of birds begins to sing, each individual song full-throated, top volume. This musical cacophony, like an orchestra tuning instruments, goes on for about forty-five minutes. Out of this variety of voices, don’t ask me how, beauty emerges.
Amazingly, as soon as the sun, the tip of the red ball, peeks over the horizon, the chorus segues into silence, a holy time as the sun rises. Once Sol is topping the trees, individual species begin their daily chores, a different music. Birds begin to feed, to flit, to flirt.
If nothing else, it would be nice to be able to turn to another person over cups of coffee and say, “Ah, the birds are at it again.”
But, wait. This is unbelievable. A handsome yellow bird, all shades of yellow from pale to vivid with greenish hues at the edges of his wings, one of the many Warblers, just landed on my windowsill, cocked his head and spoke to me. Flirted, actually. I’m out of the loop, but I do remember flirting. Oh, the songs. Oh, the sweetness. He winked. “Come with me Toots. I’ll show you a good time.”
I shook my head. “It won’t work,” I told him. Cultural and language differences notwithstanding, I can’t but imagine his shock and horror when he discovers all my pillows are filled with feathers.
HDN: Looking out my back door
June 15, 2017