07 November 2006

wakeup call

Every day on the way to work, I pass a tiny tree outside the National Library near where I live. It's only about a meter taller than I am, squashed between a parking lot and the mini-plaza outside the library entrance, but for some reason, it's The Place To Be if you are a bird in Reykjaví­k. These past two mornings as I went by in the frigid darkness, it's been blooming with fat birds, tucked among the red-berry laden branches. They're all busy chattering, singing and chirping to each other, and although there aren't many spots on the branches, they all seem to be quite democratic about everyone having a turn so the traffic flow is constant. It's like the Dunkin' Donuts of the local bird community, where everyone's got to swing by for a gossip before they go off to their bird-deskjobs, whatever that entails here in Iceland.

I'm usually rather in my head when I leave the house, nose buried in my scarf, iPod at the ready, but the cacophony of this little tree is enough to snap me out and remind me to look around myself, and feel the strange crunchy spring to the partly frozen earth in the grassy spots, then look upward and observe the odd way the high clouds are illuminated by the sun that still hides below the horizon, and breathe the freshly frigid air that never fails to clear head-cobwebs. Even in the dark, there are still things worth paying attention to.


tsduff said...

E, I wonder what type of birds they are? I was amazed at the birds I saw last summer, awake in the middle of the night, apparently due to the beautiful midnight sun. We were serenaded as we lay in our tent by the eerie whistling sound produced by the snipe, as it dove and spiraled in the cold bright night air. Yours (in the tree) sound like starlings. They are quite noisy and love to flock together. Short & stocky, black, and in winter covered with irredescent green speckles - yellow beak.

ECS said...

terry- it's possible.. I don't know a ton about birds and it's pretty dark when I go by.

I know that whistling sound you're talking about! It's an essential part of camping in Iceland.