The Bird With The Messy Hairdo The little grey bird with the messy hairdo faces the rising sun, toes fastened to the tallest fence post. Her tail tips leisurely adjusting the air currents. Tea balanced on my knee, dressed in grey loungewear, the viral style of 2021, I wait for clouds to pass, for something to distinguish me from the grey everything of another day. A gang of mosquitos threatens. I shoo the buffet of them to the bird who nods appreciatively. I don’t know her name and, at first, that lack doesn’t bother me. By the third morning visit – she’s practically family now – not knowing her name niggles. I identify her regularity but not who she is – as a bird. Of course, she is not troubled by such thoughts. Humans, like ants in our ubiquity, must all look alike in our sweatshirts and stretch pants. To learn her identity I could tap my phone but choose to explore Peterson’s bird book, the slower route to enlightenment, a process of illumination on a route ripe with possibilities in the adjacent pages. I find her – a tufted titmouse ¬– and invite her to flip through glossy images where on page 194, in the Tyrant Flycatcher section, she locates me, just sixteen pages away – a little grey job, like her.
© Susanne Fletcher