I was going to apologize - once again - for not writing for a while. Then I realized that a lot of my blog posts have been apologies for not writing. So screw that. I'm sounding stale.
A magpie just walked along our balcony railing with a peanut in his (or her) mouth. It stopped and peeked in our window, took a look at me with the dog snoozing on my feet and kept on walking. Smart choice, bird. I've never understood why people hate magpies, and by people I mean my dad. They're beautiful and smart. Sure they don't sing worth a damn (or at least I've never heard them sing well) but who cares? We caught a baby magpie once, after my dad got tired of their parents waking him up at 5 o'clock in the morning every day and shot a hole through the bottom of their nest, killing one parent. The other parent took the near-fledglings (seriously, if he'd waited another few days they would have left on their own) and led them, hopping from branch to branch, to a safe place way, way out back by a grainery. While they were thus occupied my brothers and I managed to catch one - it took ages, because they're so smart - and brought it to the house. Mom ki-boshed the idea of us keeping it for a pet, which was too bad because I'd heard that they could be taught to speak and wanted to give that a try, but within minutes of catching it the little birdy had figured out that we were a source of food and stopped trying to get away. It just sat on my finger waiting for us to produce more delicious scraps.
That's pretty smart for a wild animal.
My dad didn't like a lot of birds growing up. Blue Jays chased smaller birds away. Seagulls were pigs that would eat a chickadee whole. Magpies were pesky farm-destroyers. None of them sounded nice. I'm not sure where he got all of his prejudices from - except the seagull one, that one he saw happen so I can understand why he didn't like them. Seeing a chickadee get eaten whole and alive would be upsetting. But Blue Jays make lovely noises when they get going. Magpies don't destroy farms in any way I can see - perhaps I've just never seen them descend upon a field and eat the entire thing.
I think those views came from his dad though. Grandpa has - or at least had - some pretty strong opinions. Some of them are interesting, some are valid, and some are really...how shall I put it? Antiquated? Bordering on racist? I guess that's the generation he comes from.
I work in a vintage car museum and Dad brought Grandpa by the other week. I got to learn some things about my grandpa I hadn't known. He learned to drive on an Overland - we have one in our collection - but after that he only drove Willys until he moved away from home. Him and Grandma owned a grey 1955 Chevrolet Bel Aire. And he's aged a whole hell of a lot since the last time I saw him.
Someone told me that babies and the elderly age the same way - constantly and surprisingly. It's the middle part where things stay static. I guess that's true. It's a little sad for both - you have the chance to miss so much more with both the young and the old.
I guess that's a reminder to be present with them when I am with them, and pay attention. Otherwise I'll miss out on that short, precious time and suddenly the babies will be adults and the old ones will be gone.
Just like the magpie on the balcony railing.