Tuesday Slice of Life : February 7, 2017.
This week I saw something I have never seen before. Not on a spring day. Not on a summer day. Not on a day when the leaves turn red. But on a wintry day this week, I saw it, this something that I’ve never seen before.
We were exiting Level 4 of the airport parking garage, just entering the spiral ramp that spins us downward to ground level. The sky hung low and heavy, its clouds spilling enormous raindrops onto our windshield with loud splatting sounds. It was an icy rain, the kind that is about to become snow. I noticed the icicles hanging in rows along the bottom of each pipe that forms the ramp railing. A strong gust blew against our car, and I felt the slickness of the road beneath our wheels. I shivered, glad my husband had made it to the airport to meet me, glad to be heading home and not stranded in a distant airport. That was when I saw them.
They were sitting on the icy ramp railing, all puffed up like they had an extra layer of feathers to brace against the bitter storm. Motionless they sat. As though frozen. Facing each other. Then I saw their beaks. Touching, tip to tip.
We swooped past them, and I turned so I could continue to watch them. The wind of our passing did not disturb them. Without flinching, they continued to sit, beak-to-beak. Like two statues. As still as the porcelain robins on my piano at home.
How could they sit there, I wondered, while the wintry storm beat against them?
Why didn’t they choose a protected place in the parking garage?
Were they warmed by a shared bond that I could not see, that I did not understand?
Perhaps there is a lesson here.
Notes from my journal...
Obviously, I’ve never done any serious bird watching.
So, I did a bit searching and reading and found that birds will put their beaks together for various reasons. It seems it is a “form of companionship bonding.” And “mutual grooming is common for birds that live together.” Also, a bonded pair of birds “regurgitate food to feed each other.” All of that may be, but I’m still wondering, Why were they on the ice covered railing in the midst of a winter storm?
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I would love to use this post as a mentor text for my students. Your descriptions are just beautiful! Birds seem to be a common thread today in this community!
Please feel free to use it, Leigh Anne. You are welcome to use my journal sketch and notes also. Your students might be interested to know that I keyed the words (notes) in my iPhone immediately after I saw the birds. Later that day, I wrote them on paper and sketched the birds. Three days later I wrote the slice. I don’t think I could have recaptured that moment if I hadn’t immediately jotted down the initial descriptive notes.
Your beautifully crafted words transported me to this wonderful small moment. Thanks for sharing your notebook page as well. Great sketch!
Love the descriptive words you used, Alice. The sketching of the birds showed a tender moment.
🙂 Thanks, Carol.
Your second paragraph is filled with such great sensory descriptions. What an interesting sight and in an icy storm! This is the day of birds as Barbara Suter describes the birds she sees on her walk. Birds on the brain for some of us. 🙂
Thank you, and I will definitely stop over at Barbara’s blog. Thanks for mentioning it. Okay, “birds on the brain” 🙂 but not bird-brains (words can be such fun).
Thanks for the lesson. I didn’t know that about birds. What a neat thing to see. Love hour drawing.
It really was neat! As I read your comment, the thought occurred to me that it was such a visual juxtaposition –the shared warmth I perceived between the birds with the harsh brutal elements of the winter storm around them.
These birds are a sign. You should read Elsie’s post. Hers has a bird theme too. Love your journal drawing.
Oh, I will check out Elsie’s post; thanks for mentioning it to me.
I feel if I ever let myself study birds, I would fall into a rabbit-hole and never reappear. They are amazing. Isn’t it lovely that out of all the things you could have “seen” that day, you saw this beak-to-beak treat?
I know what you mean, Kimberly! We could easily get “lost” in watching. That “beak-to-beak treat” made my afternoon.
Your descriptive language brought me right to the scene, and I was nearly (pleasantly) surprised by your sketch. This is a perfect slice — a small moment brought to life by writing.
Thank you, Kevin. It was fun to write because I enjoyed the moment so much.
wow! I love the visualizations that come with this post 🙂 great job!
Thank you, Hannah. It was one of those moments when everything was very vivid.
I love the picture from your notebook!!
Thank you, Jennifer. It just “begged” to be sketched.