Spring Love at the Multi Use Park

I just witnessed one of the coolest things ever. It seems the park bench I chose to sit on, in the shaded section of an urban strip park comes with a show.

The park is approximately the width of a street, and I suspect at one time it probably was, or a service lane that often exists behind a more commercial main road. You can find the continuation here. Nicely architected with green grass and lots of trees and benches that line the main walkway spaced just far enough away from each other to allow people to sit and enjoy, even if the next bench over is occupied by a drunken slob hung over from last night, which is often the case it seems in an area like this.

I see there is a tombstone for Barney near one of the park entrances.  It inspired me to sit and blog from one of the benches. I found an empty one, which at certain times can be difficult. It’s a nice spring day and I quickly discover my seat is a perfect one, across from a spring singles party for the park pigeons. I notice a potential couple appear directly in front of me, in a prime spot slightly elevated and lit by the spring sunlight almost like a spotlight might light a stage.  They walk up to the spot from an area off to the side where everyone is waiting to be next.  She is already there as he swaggers into the sun-spotlight and begins his audition for the lady.  He puffs right up, like he had throat to spare. His puffy chest catches the light and displays some very high-quality colours. A rainbow brighter than the suns reflection in an oil spill.

He was putting on a real show, unlike anything I’d personally seen before. He had moves. Still, after all this pomp and circumstance, she remained unimpressed. I suppose it just wasn’t what she was looking for. At first, they seemed to be bargaining, as if she said no, but he wanted to show off a few extra tricks. They walked away and back and away and back a few times as he chirped a last-ditch attempt. One final bow of rejection and the first contestant wanders off and flies away. I notice he doesn’t re-join the waiting list to try another mate later. I suppose the idea of being rejected by one puts a shadow on your chances. Even pigeons don’t want sloppy seconds.

As she holds her place in the sun, the next qualifier bounces over the sidewalk from the bullpen for his chance in the sun. This female pigeon and I have obviously different tastes because #2 was far less impressive to me. He hardly puffed up at all, and his dance moves were far less cheerful. Instead of rainbow colours,e he was just black. In less than half the time, she had made up her mind that #2 was the pigeon for her. Perhaps she’d had black before and couldn’t go back.

They bounce off together out of site and a new princess bride bounces across the concrete onto the mound and the rituals continue. I felt so privileged to see the first pairing because none of the bachelor’s next in line were as good. Some of them hardly tried at all, making me believe the first pairing might be something special.

Perhaps they were the community elders, and the rest are the common pigeons that all know each other from the neighbourhood. I have no idea but I have a suspicion that pigeons are locally minded. They find a statue they like and poop on it forever.

I often think about the birds and wish I could know more about bird languages. I ponder whether birds teach each other one language among birds or species of birds. One of the main reasons animals don’t progress much farther in evolution is they don’t always hang out with enough of them to form a common language. I’ve watched them.  Like many humans, they seem to sit around and chat a lot.  I’m certain they have a conversational language.  They’re probably the most chatty animals in the kingdom.

Birds hang out.  I assume they’re telling each other stories. Shared experiences about great watering places or the lady on Fifth Avenue that spreads seed out later in the day. Perhaps they tell stories about us. I imagine we can be quite comical to a bird. Our mating rituals are even stranger to witness than theirs.

Sadly, this grand showroom is also a prime spot for humans and a spontaneous game of catch starts up making noise and potential danger. One of the birds calls out, presumably saying the pigeon equivalent to shouting “CAR” when your ball hockey game is disrupted by those pesky vehicles that choose to drive on the roads you’ve designated as playing fields. If I listen closely I hear a single chirp I interpret as; “Ok Ladies and Gents; Take 5.” Bird language is far more efficient than English because the chirps are digital. 

This is a great example of multi-use urban Park, even if they never intended it to be multi-species too. I remember the dog memorial I passed as I entered, and realize it is for in fact for all.  A park like this is practically made just to allow the neighbourhood to walk their dogs… or lizards, or whatever will stay on the leash.

I never really understood the fun in playing catch. I have no memories of catch. It always seemed a pointless way to have a conversation, loudly across a park. I see even less enjoyment in a silent game of catch. I don’t get it. Even from the standpoint of exercise, you’re standing in one place using one arm. It’s some movement but not even as much exercise as walking to the park. I suppose my view may be biased by the fact I was probably horrible at it. I know I never liked playing Frisbee because it was just another sport I failed at. For me, Frisbee was more a game of throw and walk to pick it up

When the humans have had enough, they leave, but by now the sun has shifted and it no longer beams impressively on the ritual mound as it did before. Some pigeons return but just like humans, it seems it isn’t always easy to get back into an interrupted party vibe.  The mood just isn’t the same, but I suppose some pigeons have plans to get it on, so they start again but as the first new female awaits her show, a dog wanders in.

The spotter pigeon calls out; DOG although I just hear a chirp that seems pretty much identical to the one he called out for HUMAN!  They fly away.  Since this is where people walk their dogs, I suspect the spotting of the first one means dating game is over for the day. Soon this will be the dog’s time to sniff buts and choose mates.

There is nothing worse than being interrupted by a horny dog when you’re trying to impress your pigeon… I imagine.

End note: This timeless blog post was originally written May 17th, 2015. I searched for it among archived unpublished work and brought it up front today by request because it is a nice story I like to tell whenever I get the chance.

My TO DO List solution – sharing.

A few years ago when I was deciding on all the life changes for the second part of my life, after having found myself living alone for the first time ever, one of my favourite discoveries was how much the simple act of sharing a TO-DO list changed everything. Each morning, I’d load up yesterday’s list, check off tasks completed, write a brief summary of my day, and share the list with someone. Over time, the WHO changed, but the simple process of updating it daily and sharing it with another changed tasks into responsibilities. A witness to procrastination helped to motivate me more than I was able to do on my own.

This year, I slowed my progress down in most areas for various reasons explored in the other pages of this blog. One of those things nearly abandoned was my TO DO List. The people I was sharing with were among those emotionally affected by some of my newly expose drug habits and our interactions seemed strained because of it. With no reactions at all, the act of sharing the list changed. Sharing was no longer motivating, but how transitioned to being yet another source of guilt and sadness. Another display of my failures, recapped every day.

I’m building myself back up, and I need that to do list and the motivation of friends and family, so I look forward to the upcoming spring weather, and a newly refreshed me.  This is the email I sent today, but I suspect I’m on the lookout for a new share recipient. It’s not a hard job… Being alive is a plus, but not a deal breaker.

Monday May 7, 2018

Dear Friends and Family.

After several successful years of sharing my TO DO list every morning with you, the messages were being sent less and less. As of May, I was not really sending any at all.

Like a sign on the wall that becomes part of the background after a week or so, the TO DO ritual became less helpful. We were pretty much ignoring the process, and it contained unfinished items for over a year. It became almost a mockery of itself.

I looked for systems to replace it, but a TO-DO list that is effort also gets ignored so I just kept doing what I do, working on the tasks of whoever was complaining about being ignored each day. I kept remembering the old joke of the man who returns to the shoe repair shop in his hometown after finding a 5 year old ticket in a pocket and he’s told; “They’ll be ready Tuesday”. Customers never liked when I told them that joke as I would give them a similar reply to why their job was still in progress.

However – I do need to see a to do list now and then. I do need to be reminded that some tasks are being ignored while the “fun” ones are tended to. I don’t function without reminders and nags. My brain has difficulty with recalling things on it’s own, especially when so many new and shiny things are in front of me.

Now more than ever, I need to earn my income again after a reckless short stint of financial comfort that came and went too quickly.

Today, on a Monday, I have been re-energized by necessity and a new found joy in web design thanks to a new development tool that allows me to enjoy even tedious projects.

I want to do good things again. To be active and productive at least a few days each week.. so I return to my TO DO list, shared with you.

If you still have interest in assisting, then feel free to interact and inquire about some of these tasks. I hope to check some off with regularity and maybe shuffle them around in order to help me choose between the past-due items which all have equal priority in the eyes of the long waiting clients.

If you don’t, that is fine too. The act of sharing has a purpose, even if not used interactively. It helps to provide a guilt-based responsibility just knowing somebody else is witnessing the stagnation, even if only occasionally. If you’re alive and you saw this message – it’s helpful. If you didn’t read it, then I don’t know that, so it still works. Parts have been casually redacted for privacy reasons.

[_] Magic Pigeon Racing
[_] John VanO stuff
[_] Stiv
[_] Litespeed research / changes
[_] NetBound.ca
[_] Discovered BlowerTech site needs a lot of work for unknown reasons.
[_] Sinwal
[_] Lino
[_] Carrasco
[_] Domain Check for Arctic, Stivervale

[_] Email inbox read/respond/purge
[_] ALWAYS Laundry…