darkness magpie my old friend,
I’ve you’ve come to talk with you peck at me again,
Because a vision softly
seeds imprint in my helmet while I was sleeping riding,
vision beak that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of
silence pecking. *
Now lets set the record straight. I love springtime. I love the blooms. I love the smells. I love the feel, you can just feel when its Spring.
I love the butterfly’s and the bees and the flowers and the trees (and the moon up above) .Sigh.
Dang it, I even love the birds.
And, like a Shark attack victim who protests culling, each spring I turn a blind eye to the ruthless, stealth, overprotective feathered friends that share our town.
If your from Australia, you’ll know who I’m talking about.
Yes, the black and white Cerberus of the sky. But with only one head. And feathers.
Growing up, our Grandfather, our beloved Fardie, would feed the Magpies and Butcher Birds from his veranda. They would come every day and he would have bacon rind or mince meat that he would throw to them, and eventually, hand feed to them.
They loved him (not as much as we did), and we thought it was just fantastic.
Our father took this habit home, and eventually we had Magpies and Butcher Birds visiting every day. Dad would buy mince especially for them, and if he wasn’t on time, they’d come inside looking for him.
We were also a haven for lorikeets and Dad would leave honey soaked bread out for them to gorge on whilst they faught and squabbled on our lush green lawn.
Man we had a good lawn.
Anyway, like Fardie, the birds loved Dad.
Us? Well not so much. They would eat from our hands, but timidly, reluctantly, like they were only doing it because Dad wanted them too. The trust just wasn’t there.
Each year as Spring would approach, I’d have a conversation with these birds, something along the lines of:
Me– “Hey there Maggie, back again ay?”
Magpie- Blank stare
Me– “Listen, just wanna have a talk with you about Spring. I see it’s coming up. The weathers turning nice and my birthdays getting close, and anyway, I was thinking, maybe this year, seeing as you kinda forgot last year, I was thinking, maybe you could put the call out and, I don’t know, maybe STOP TRYING TO PECK THROUGH MY FREAKING SKULL EVERY FREAKIN DAY”
Magpie– Blank stare
Magpie- Quiet Warble**
Now, this warble, I took as consent. As a sort of ” Of course young man-child, your Father takes care of me and my young every year, feeding us and petting us, and I can tell how much you love animals and we all think your awesome.”
What he meant was “Look at you small man-child with your parted hair and your Hayley’s Comet T-shirt. We’re here for the meat, not to make friends. Now hand over the mince and maybe I wont peck your eyes out. On second thought………….”
I’d head off to school or the park or the pool (in a town surrounded by bush, all locations, and all routes were vulnerable to attack), cocky, wearing a great big shiny force field of false security.
I’d laugh while others were attacked, perhaps even utter how fortunate I was because the Magpies were my friends. We feed them. They love us.
No maám. No love for the little blond girl just trying to get to swimming training.
Just when you think you’ve got it made, your through the zone unscathed, there comes the tell-tale sound of terror.
If you’ve never been swooped, I’ll try to relay the experience to you.
Your riding along. Eyes darting too and fro. You can’t see a Magpie. Maybe he’s sleeping. Maybe he’s busy attacking someone else. Most likely he’s keeping up to his end of the deal, after all you fed him just yesterday.
Then, It’s quiet.
And,,,,,,,,,,,,,well, if you’re wearing a cap right now, take it off, hold it by the brim, and flap it up and down hard next to your ear.
There, that’s the sound.
Consequently that’s also the hilarious trick stupid boys used to play all through September. Real funny boys.
Follow the flapping with mad hammering on your helmet. That’s if you’re wearing a helmet. If not, have someone throw a pebble at your head. From close up. A bunch of times.
There, that’s the feeling.
Now this is simply the story of Spring in Australia. It happens every year, and will continue to do so forever. It doesn’t last long and they’re only protecting their babies. It appalls me when people tease them, and I wish nothing but terrible things upon people who kill them.
Mind you, myself, and my kids have never been hurt. Just freaked out.
It’s an adrenalin rush like no other.
And now, as I get back to my routine, my daily ride to the pool is once again fraught with Springtime paranoia, humiliation, elation and giggles.
Riding away after yet another pecking, I laugh as I’m taken back to little me waving my towel over my head yelling “We had a deal Maggie!!!!!”
Magpie– Evil Warble
*If this makes no sense to you, Google Simon and Garfunkel-Sound of Silence. Great song.
**noise a magpie makes