Monday, October 12, 2015

Where Pigeons go to Die

Lately I have been noticing the serendipity in my life....that is the  connections between thoughts and events that happen by chance and usually illicit a " deja vu" moment.   

Today I found a dead bird up on the top of garden wall.  Oh, no.  I wondered if the mature and magnificent Mozzi had been honing his feline skills.  

 On inspection it turned out not to be one of our two resident collared doves but a pigeon.  I say resident doves, because ever since we have been in this house there has been a pair of doves that sleep in the bay tree and are fed wild bird seed on the balustrade by Monsieur.  

Monsieur started this practice years back when the neighbors were putting out rat poison and the male dove of the couple died from ingesting it.  We somehow took it upon ourselves to put seeds for the lone female.  She thought it was a dandy deal and the couple-dom has been kept intact ever since.... either by aggression or by passing it to the next generation, we can't be sure. 

  I tolerate this practice out of habit now.  Monsieur does not seem to mind the fighting that goes on in the garden.   It turns out that doves are "not the brightest bulbs on the block" and that they are territorial and waste most of the seeds fighting over their patch from dove intruders.  

But even before the doves arrived,  there have been at least four pigeons who have come here in distress.  Two of them survived as Monsieur was able to help them.   The other two we found already dead. 

 The first survivor's foot was tangled with fishing line and he asked Monsieur to see what he could do.... hopping up to him without fear.  Monsieur, the animal whisperer,  was able to untangle the mess with cuticle scissors but the damaged leg dropped off anyway.  

This pigeon he named " Mutor" (as I suppose he looked liked some kind of mutant) and he visited us with his stumpy leg for about 4 years.  He came for seeds, of course.  The other injured or sick pigeon stayed over night inside in a basket, then asked to be let out and stayed one more night between the pillars on the terrace (risking the cats) before he flew away, seemingly healthy.   

This morning seeing another pigeon dead I remembered that when I lived in Carmel, Ca. there was a writer who could regularly be found having his coffee break in the Carmel Cafe.  His name was Robert Wright Campbell and at the time he was working on a book called: Where Pigeons Go to Die.   
 I see from Wiki that he was born in 1927 and died in 2007 in Monterey.  He did publish the book and it was made into a movie directed by Michael Landon.  The connection there is not only that I knew Robert Campbell and that he was writing this book but that I knew Michael Landon as an acquaintance from the Buckley School.    I was a teacher and his children were students there.

  The serendipity for me is that Campbell's provacative title has turned out to be a kind of truth for us.  Pigeons do seem to come here to die....(or be treated).  And the amazing thing is that even though we are close to a city full of pigeons, very few of them ever find their way up our street despite the seeds available.   That is a little miracle in itself, non?

Another episode of what I call serendipity happened on the train from Eugene to Seattle this August.  A woman said to me while I was sitting in the viewing car:  "I would have thought that was my bag if you had been coming from the other direction."  It transpired that we both had a very unusual German tote bag.  Mine had been bought in Nice.  Hers was a gift from a friend who visited London. She had not been to Europe for years and neither one of us has ever seen another bag like it. 

Elizabeth and I with our polka dotted tote bags on Amtrak

It turned out that we chose to sit together the rest of the way and  chatted on our many common interests.  She was on the way from L.A. to Seattle for a workshop called "dreamgates" by Robert Moss.   I had recently taken a workshop with Charley Morley called  "Lucid Dreaming".  I would say these are obscure interests.  So yes, I added this encounter to my "serendip" list of happenings   

By the way, the origin of the word Serendipity is from a fairy tale written in 1754 by Horace Walpole.  It was called The Three Princes of "Serendip". The heroes of this saga were always making discoveries "by accidents or sagacity, of things they were not in quest of".  I like this definition better than any other and I do look for these little connections in life.   Its my kind of optimism, I think.