I decided that it was a good time to clean the mud of my birding adventures off the car.
The car wash is probably one of the last places that a nature lover wishes to be found.
The noise of traffic bellowed past - a reality that sadly one can’t escape.
A weed eater was managing the dredges of nature that developers have allowed us to ‘enjoy’.
There was the hustle and bustle of people walking past – all with somewhere to go and some place to be.
A gentleman walked past, with the smoke from his morning cigarette wrapping around the aged textures of his face.
A woman, enslaved to her phone, caught up on the avalanche of information that ensured that she had to cling to mere morsels of sanity.
Two gentlemen at the table connected over the subject that unites us as a nation - the crime rate and how they could stay safe.
I sat at the table, my own mind wandering through the things that I need to ensure I did for the day - phone calls, administration, and a trip to the airport to collect someone.
The world has wired us to never fully be present...to be somewhere and somewhere else at the same time. To be in the now, and in many other times, and spaces all at once.
I have heard it said that there are birds all around us. They provide a connection between the world that we find ourselves in and the world that we so long to escape to. So, was there a way to connect to birds even in such a sterile, manufactured environment?
I took a moment to lock myself out of the conversations and the busyness of the morning. I entered a world that was all around us, but few got to enjoy. While crossing the bridge between the world that others were in and nature, at first it seemed as though there was not much around. But slowly, nature started to raise its voice and make itself known.
There is a world on the other side of the busyness of life that calls us in. Its call is but a whisper, but it offers a world of delight.
The Common Myna, a bird often scorned and hated, is the first to make itself known. Once one gets past all the negativity around this species, it’s beauty is a delight. Another species that has thrived in urban settings is the Red-winged Starling. These birds flash the red under their wings when in flight, showing their hidden beauty to those that care to observe. The Purple-crested Turaco’s gruff call pierces the morning air. This bird is a contradiction of a species – it has stunning colouration, but its call sounds like it is in desperate need of a throat lozenge. The ever-present Village Weavers noisily move around in a fever tree – their nests only a short distance away. Across the road the mall’s parking lot provides a buffet meal for the House Sparrows, who are happy to take advantage of the scraps lying on the tar. This is a sad picture of the world that we find ourselves in, all too often we enjoy the best of the land, while nature is left to compete for the scraps that we leave behind. The last bird to show itself during my time was a Yellow-billed Kite. During summer these are the most common raptor species in my area, their arrival tells us that spring is in the air.
‘Your car is ready sir’ – the call came a little too early. My time at the car wash had allowed me to escape – to walk across the bridge that all too few cross – and enter a world that is all around us.
Nature is calling. Its call is but a whisper. While you listen?