Monday, September 29, 2008

a procession of curious birds ...

In the noisy car park of a supermarket besides Gatwick Airport, where I am taking a rest from driving. My new truck has a CD player and I am listening to Alan Bennett’s History Boys, which has many little ironies that I enjoy, and the sweet sonorities of two fine actors, Frances de la Tour and Richard Griffiths.

Just in front of the truck, a busy magpie with a few scraggy grey feathers around its neck and wing-tips arrives and perches in a small tree, but ignores the tumult of bright berries and hurriedly swoops to the ground to investigate something that I can’t see, and then flies off.

Moments later, a jackdaw with a silvery head and an icy stare, flies in, and also investigates the same patch of ground, possibly double-checking, having seen the first visitor from afar.

And when he flies off, a larger crow takes a turn, even though he’s already carrying something in his beak, white and circular, rather like a communion wafer, which he makes no effort to eat. He too, finding nothing, departs.

In itself, this little trinity of treasure seekers seems almost to be an esoteric allegory which narrative I am unqualified to interpret, but then ten seconds later comes a fourth visitor, and one I hardly expect to see so close to crowds of people; a gaudy jay who only stays for a second or two but delights me most of all with his fine feathers and the eloquent way that he almost mimes his curiosity.