May 26th, 2005

laszlo moholy-nagy_chx

Again With the Chirp Chirp Chirp!

I believe I have discovered a new species of bird. I call it the Drive Joe Crazy Bird. It has one note, a very loud peep, which it repeats constantly, beginning with the first hint of morning light while all the decent birds are still sleeping. It is even more obnoxious than the robins. It is the avian equivalent of those little yapping dogs who never shut up. Furthermore, I have seen these birds peck in the lawn four or five feet from my cat, who just stares at them and never makes a move to catch one. Maybe they exude an odor which is as unpleasant to cats as their piercing chirp is to me. Maybe the cat has caught one before and found the fowl's flavor foul. Whatever the reason, she will not rid me of the beasts, nor does she have the power to frighten them away. Worst of all, their noise drowns out the delightful and varied songs of the thrushes. The squawking, aggressive blue jay is off the hook. These little, brown creatures are now the birds I most dislike. I urgently desire their departure.

Speaking of departing birds, I forgot to mention that early yesterday morning I saw a flock of geese migrating north. Geese, heading north in late May! The luxuriant rains and lingering coolness of this spring must have induced them to remain overlong in their winter quarters. Now they must fly north in the appalling heat which has descended upon us like a thermonuclear blast. When they reach their destination, they are apt to find all the best nesting spots already taken by birds less tardy in their departure. Too, they may find their nesting season too short for the proper maturation of their offspring, and be stuck too long in the north when winter begins, or be forced to fly south and abandon their next generation. Perhaps the flock will die off. Again, natural selection is harsh.

Oh, those damned little birds are still chirping. I'd rather hear the crickets. Now that the weather is so warm, those crickets who live in the shady parts of the back yard begin their song long before sunset, and those to the west continue singing until sunrise. Unlike these birds, the crickets have a sense of rhythm, and some variation in the volume of their sound. It's a sad day for the avian world when bird food sings better than birds.

Enough. I'll stick some cotton in my ears and try to sleep.

Sweating it Out

The nearest cricket is making about 175 chirps per minute. If it were inside, it would be chirping even faster. The sticky air of the room is still, and barely a breath of the cooler outside air passes through the open window. Time to set up the fan. Nightfall has concealed the drooping leaves and the grass that is turning brown. The afternoon sky was unrelieved by any clouds other than those few thunderheads which cling to the distant ridges of the mountains this time of year. I listen for rumbling, but none has come. The population of flying insects has burgeoned. I don't dare turn on the porch light, lest I be swarmed. If I did hear rumbling, perhaps I couldn't be sure if it was thunder in the mountains or thousands of soft, beating wings. The characteristic balmy days of May numbered two or three. Before that, it was March. Now, it is August. I cannot bear another minute indoors.