A Bird’s Eye View

I don't like walking.  I don't, in fact, know anybody who does.

But I walk a mile a day – round trip, to and from work – as I have no car and since in this current incarnation I can't fly (or bounce from tree to tree like a gibbon, or float through the air dandelion-like)…so I walk.

But on these walks I do notice things.  Not cracks in the sidewalk (so I trip), or roots exploding through the concrete (and therefore fall), or people (except when they're walking their dogs).  But I do notice the flowers whose colors span from red to orange to pink to yellow all within the span of one petal; I notice the Byzantine colored tiles embedded in the stairs of the older houses in my neighborhood, I notice vines cross-hatched across garden walls…in short I notice things that will not help me get to my job unscathed.

And sometimes I notice not things, but vignettes:

On my way to work earlier this week, my eyes were drawn to the balcony of a pale sepia colored house.  The color was serene, and went well with the morning's gray and white sky.  The wooden railings were creamy and worn.  There was a terra-cotta pot on that balcony, with a filigree of branches growing from it.  And perched on the smallest, trimmest twig was a tiny brown sparrow – singing a warning, or greeting, I really didn't know, not being at all versed in sparrow-speak.


And I witnessed it all: a perfect Winter scene, painted with a delicate and restrained brush…in mid-May.

Then, walking home, perhaps on that very same day, I stopped to admire the weathervane of one of the corner houses:  it was in the shape of a bi-plaine: tilted upwards, straining to take flight.  But this day I saw a most audacious bird, claiming a most audacious perch:  a mockingbird balanced on the upper most propeller blade.  It was singing, singing to the sky, since it was clear that no earthly creature was worthy to appreciate its proud voice.

He was impudent enough to perch atop the symbol of man's best-known attempt to conquer his skies.  He sang fearlessly, with no concern or sense of danger.

Because it is a sin, you know.  

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13 responses to “A Bird’s Eye View

  1. I'm so glad you posted this – it reminded me that I saw a vinette that reminded me of you last week!
    I was just a mile or so into my freeway commute when I saw a car pulled off the road. A burly man changing the car tire as a woman – slender, pale, lipstick so red I saw it from 4 lanes away, wearing a 40s dress, and shading herself with a Japanese paper umbrella – stood watching.
    I thought you would have loved it. It was definitely a picture perfect moment.
    ps: Nobody walks in LA.

  2. I like walking. I don't have a car either. In fact, I never learned to drive.

  3. I liked to walk. It is too far from here to walk anywhere of great import, It is just fun to walk. Annie loves it. She inspects every acorn and chestnut. I an hopefully gonna being stronger soon and can resume my walks.

  4. Excellent description as always Aubrey. Your current incarnation certainly has a great pair of eyes/attention to detail.
    Walking to work forms the major part of my exercise regime.

    If I ever worked from home I would have to sweep all the dirt under the carpet so I could walk uphill to switch the computer on.

  5. what a lovely scene, Aubrey. I love how you use words (in case I've not said that before…).I love walking, and I also walk out of necessity (not having a car, and living a couple miles from campus). Usually I'm borderline late so I have to walk really fast, but sometimes I'll slow down so I can appreciate the beautiful scenes around me.

  6. Thanks for the big smile, this morning!How I love to take in the details, wherever I am. Isolating each moment and savoring it!Whenever I walk I love to periodically turn around to see how the scene behind me looks. Where I have come from. Where I am going. It drives my husband crazy. Ah well. Too bad for heem! ;)It was fun following the link to see what the "sin" would be! :)Cheers!

  7. Mmmm….what beautiful visions. You should be very proud that you don't look down at the ground when you walk. Most American's do. I had a movement instructor in college who used to scold us about looking down when we walk, reminding us of all that we're missing. I loved the way he would describe walking: "Walking is falling in suspension. We walk only to prevent ourselves from falling forward".

  8. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They
    don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do
    one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to
    kill a mockingbird."
    Miss Maudie Atkinson

  9. LeendaDLL – that is an absolute postcard. Thanks for the image!
    Gamba – I barely learned to drive; within a couple of months I got into one accident, and came close to another. Clearly it wasn't for me.
    SweetM – further proof that Pets Make Everything Better
    Philhellene – exercise, yes: a necessary evil.
    LM – I'm borderline late too: I've been staring at a nest, or watching a squirrel, or saying hello to a kitteh…you know, the important things.
    Lauri – tell the husband that at least you're not doing that when you're driving (or do you?)
    DKN – yeah, the action's all around you, not below you!

  10. Walking is tiring. I walked quite a ways on Saturday and am still feeling it. At least it was scenic, along the Embarcadero, looking at the little sailboats and the giant container ships being escorted by scrappy little tugboats and Coast Guard boats.Leenda, I love your story! I can picture it. What a slice of life.

  11. You write with such style and clarity, the photo is superfluous.

  12. thank you, aubrey! the weather here has been lovely, so i'll be walking more–and i'll pay attention.

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