The bright green leaves of city trees seem as though pasted in error on the dingy cityscape of Chicago’s jagged roofline.  White plumes of harmless vapor as well offending taint from belching smoke stacks navigate freely upward forming pseudo nimbus clouds.  Looking skyward the city-dweller is often duped into expecting a rainy day.


Under this canopy of wet sulfur, closer to the ground urban gossiping Sparrows unknowingly compete for recognition amid the blare of car horns and human chatter. The iconic Pigeon, the much-maligned sister to the Dove, clicks along sidewalks dotted with blackened chewing gum and entombed bottle caps.  She mumbles to herself as she zigzags with expertise against an advancing jungle of hurrying feet.   Surprisingly she has the most certain life of all on such a mindless concrete island.  Never have one of her comrades been trampled or ended a casualty of a rooftop fall.  Even those angry sounding buses are too slow for her.  Bicycles have long since given up the chase….leaving her as a sort-of  respected pedestrian.

The callers of demise may come from a thirst for sweet car fluids leaking….or a painful,  abrupt meeting with an invisible barrier of glass.  And the elders are sent instinctively to the park to spend their golden years foraging in silky, shaded grass and snoozing in old undisturbed Oaks.  They are fed rare treats from rumpled bags by elderly humans who marvel at the birds’ willingness to get close even in this city of devote strangers.   Old age and inherent illness are the Columbidae’s only escape.  I do imagine that the feathered parents keep their young from view until they are large enough to pass as adults….they’ll not risk their being tread upon or worse pinched and held for succulent dinner. 

What secrets do they keep, these winged-rats?  How long do they sleep, if at all?  How loving are they with each other and their squabs? What is the repetitious code of their mutterings as they witlessly peck at imaginary bits of food?  So often answers are hidden in plain sight.  Pigeons; Nature’s messengers…augers sent to deliver at our feet rich oracles from the Universe.   So, I ask, dare we look down?


View berriesandblood's Full Portfolio