A Tale of Two Birds
A few wispy clouds accentuate an otherwise unadorned blue sky. This brilliant, yet simple canvass is framed by exotic palms and great-grand daddy oaks dripping with Spanish moss. At a balmy 80°, this magnificent April afternoon is the kind of day that makes us willing to brave the occasional hurricane.
Today, however, there’s no tropical weather system swirling around a well formed eye – just a soft breeze that rustles a few loose strands of hair (I’ll worry about the tangles later). The refreshing breeze is the perfect antidote to the sun’s glaring assault on my bare arms. As if daring anyone to object, it uses every available surface as a reflector : blades of grass, the bright pink foliage of “seven sisters” shrubs, the rippled surface of the pool, and the very pavers surrounding it. However, this is no harsh summer blaze. It’s more of a demur spring blush.
A sheet of diamond clear water cascades over the edge of the spa and into the main pool. SUDDENLY, the soothing sounds of the waterfall are interupted by the call of two shiny black birds. They alight on the ledge of the spa – their tiny feet making little channels in the rapidly flowing water. The overflow dances with the wind and reverberates as it flows into the pool below.
The birds take turns dipping their bills into the thirst-quenching water and point them towards heaven to swallow. Then cha-ching! One of them has a brilliant idea. First he dips his right wing into the water. His companion shoots an angled glance as if to ask “are you sure about this?” Unfazed, our feathered friend dips his left wing. His buddy stands by but resists any implied invitation. After a few more dips the decision is made to go all the way. He jumps in and frolics in the spa just ahead of the waterfall. I can imagine him exclaiming to his buddy, “Look, I’m a fish, I can swim!”, as his pal rolls his little yellow birdie eyes and then flies away. Finished with his bath, the little black bird hops back onto the ledge and takes off in the same general direction as since departed friend.
Birds – I see them all the time. But there was something special about this encounter that made an otherwise gorgeous day even more exceptional. Even more amazing, I decided to enjoy the moment live rather than risk missing it by running for the camera. The plan was to take a picture of the spa and a picture of a similar bird, and post them together so that readers could have an idea of what I had witnessed. I never dreamed that the same (or similar bird) would grant me a repeat performance when I had my camera ready the next day. I got two chances at this film clip of a lifetime (only the second time around there was only one bird). Go figure.
PS: the pool employs a salt system as opposed to traditional chlorine. That may be what makes it so attractive to the local wildlife. Once a pair of ducks came by, did a couple of laps and then took off. We have even seen the occasional cat wander by and have a drink. I guess we’re running a sort of neighborhood watering hole here. I wonder who’ll stop by next?