I'll begin by saying that we have moved to a new work place. Still in a residential district. Still in an apartment building: only bigger, loftier. We have a balcony. A bathroom in lavender tile. A stove ca. 1940, all gloss and chrome and dials. A towel rack in the kitchen that folds into the wall and then extends like a malnourished, wooden arm. There is a tiny opening by the front door: open it and there is a chart, reading, 'Buttermilk/Regular/Butter/Cottage Cheese'. The lady of the house, no doubt in a pale narrow house dress, curtained by a linen apron with her hair tied up Tillie The Toiler-style, would move an arrow to indicate the item needed. The milkman would then leave the desired product…and she could retrieve it from the stairwell inside. This dairy cubicle opens inwards.
Our building resides permanently in the shade. Living threads of lime-green lichen permeate the sidewalk, giving it a chilly, neon glow.
From my vantage point in the front room I can watch ravens and squirrels rampaging through the protesting branches of the avocado tree across the street.
Today I was walking back to work after lunching with Mother at Canters. (What a lovely thing it is to be within walking distance of a deli.)
As I meandered on, reflecting on the glory of my vegetarian sandwich on whole wheat, I suddenly heard sqwaking. A zoo's sqwaking. It was plural. It was numerous. It was many. It was legion.
I turned to my left and beheld an outdoor aviary, built into thick, curling tree trunks. It was a jeweled aboretum, filled with what seemed like – to my near-sighted eyes – fluttering swatches of color.
(Aubrey apologies for the quality of these pictures, but really, they were such capricious, fluttering things)
I spoke to them – something happy and ridiculous – then two, colored Ruby and Jade, came closer: they were unafraid and inquisitive. Their patient curiosity was very gratifying. I was so sorry to leave and disappoint their friendship.