Monday, February 2, 2009

The Rise and Fall of the Purple Bombardier

When we were kids, my family used to travel from NJ to MA for Christmas and we would always stop at a Howard Johnson's in Connecticut. Clam rolls. It was tradition. It marked our halfway mark and got my parents out of a station wagon loaded with suitcases for 5, one boxer, countless presents and 3 kids that didn't have DVDs or iPods to entertain them on a long trip.
I think that these trees, which line our street, are the Howard Johnson's for flocks of cedar wax wings and hordes of robins that cruise through here somewhere between New Years and Valentine's Day. The blue plate special of the bird world. The birds get busy and start eating. And eating. And inviting their friends. And eat some more.
A neighbor and I talked the other morning while her dog, Liza and my little guys, Indy and Charlie, played and ran together. I kept looking up. Walking out my front door is like walking into the soundtrack of The Birds. Incessant twittering and movement. The leaves rattle and if you focus, you can pick out the sound of what appears to be rain. I commented on the sound and she seemed surprised and a little grossed out when I told her what the rain sound was on that beautiful Carolina Blue Sky day. Purple Rain. I am pretty sure that this is not what Prince had in mind. Well, at least I hope not.
We are what we eat. And when hundreds of birds eat purple berries, you get purple poop. And lots of it.
These birds stay for a couple of weeks. Or maybe it is different groups coming in shifts. But they are all gone when the berries are gone. They strip those bushes clean.
Only then it is safe to wash the car again.

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