An English In Kentucky



















November 28th 2009

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    Wonderful Viburnum growing on the edge of the parking lot in what I guess would have been partial shade in summertime.  They are well established shrubs, and a good roost for House Sparrows.  A flock of them settling in for the night amongst splendid leaves.

   I have always thought of them as City Sparrows.  Stubborn in their hunt for food.  And in cities, House Sparrows are always just a little on the portly side.  The House Sparrows at home appear close to starving compared to City Sparrows.  And as a rule City Sparrows are just too busy with their own lives to pay much attention to things that don't actually fly.

    But I had to be sure they were City Sparrows, because the environment was more suburb than city.  So I peered, looking for those fat little fluffy bodies so garrulous in the evening light.  And there they were, City Sparrows, outraged by my attention.

   Beyond the Viburnum was a small house, the occupant of which cares little for any kind of modest statement that might betray a good citizen of suburbs maintaining property values.  There had been no raking up of leaves, no putting of leaves into large paper bags, no hauling of heavy bags to the curb for collection.  


    The he or she who occupies this house has a bird feeding table that will soon require structural attention but which still serves very adequately for those who prefer not to feed on the ground.  And there must have been a mowing machine somewhere, because grasses in the tiny back yard would have been taller and gone to seed.  I imagine it as one of those ancient mowing machines without muffler that over years develops eccentricity.   An engine that will only start when destruction is promised, so can never be replaced. 

    Then I noticed all the windows had curtains, except one.  And in that curtain-less window there was a face looking at me.  I have found that on occasions like this, it is always best to avoid explanation.  Better to smile and wave before disappearing, otherwise there can be misunderstanding, followed sometimes by physical or legal consequences.

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tim candler

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(Greg Lasley North American Little Brown Birds)  (House/City Sparrow