We have a lot of birds at our new home.
Well, we don’t have them exactly; they aren’t ours. But they like to hang out in all the trees behind our house.
At least I think they do. What I mean to say is, at least I think they’re birds. I’m not sure, because I never actually see them.
I’ll be sitting on the deck reading a book, and there’ll be this cacophony of noises coming from the woods. And, sure, there’ll be a tweet tweet here and a peep peep there, and I’m pretty sure those are birds. But there are also these monstrous screeches like something out of Jurassic Park. And other sounds more reminiscent of screams than animal noises. Plus there are the kinds of loud verbalizations of the sort that I associate with Cheetah in the old Tarzan movies. This is all at the same time, mind you.
So I’ll look up from my book and peer into the trees and all I’ll see is maybe a bluejay* gliding around quietly, minding its own business. There are no vultures in the treetops, no herds of charging rhinos kicking up clouds of savannah dust, no zombies stiffly marching toward our house.
And it’s not like these are dense woods I’m looking at. There are maybe a 100 yards of trees between our deck and a road at the top of a hill. I could be very wrong about the distance (the only unit of land measure that means anything to me is “the block”), but the fact is, I can look through the trees and see the shadows of vehicles passing by on that road. So I would think I could also see any animals large enough to be making the kinds of sounds I’m hearing.
And let me reiterate: these are not Disneyesque-cute-forest-creature sounds. These are the sounds of animals looking to rip something’s throat out. I may be sitting on a deck in Stamford, but it sounds like I’m on a safari in Africa.
There I am peacefully reading The Magician King, my dog Toby laying at my side, and I hear what sounds like a flock of extremely angry birds, and Toby and I look out over the railing of the deck and all we see is a lone chipmunk chittering in our direction. Or perhaps it is laughing at us.
The chipmunk is enough for Toby, who instantly begins racing back and forth in front of me barking at the rascally rodent, and I am thankful for his staunch protection. But I’m on the lookout for bigger game. I want to see the pterodactyl that’s living in my trees!
Perhaps if I had a pair of binoculars. But that would entail actually getting up from the deck chair.
See you soon.
*I say “bluejay,” but I don’t know if it is, in fact, a bluejay, or some other kind of bird that happens to have blue feathers. It could be the bluebird of happiness, for all I know.