I woke this morning with a head devoid of thoughts for The Buddha Diaries. I have been so much engaged in politics of late, and have found myself so much on the negative side of things that the Buddhist part of my brain has simply grown weary of the topic, I think, and went on strike. I can't guarantee that I won't be back at it tomorrow, but for today, well... it's for the birds.
On our morning walk around the hill today, Ellie spotted a little blue budgerigar (like these ones) on the dirt strip at the side of the road. Realizing that it had to be a domestic bird that had somehow escaped from its home, we reached out to tempt it to hop onto a hand, but the little creature was too shy, too scared, to accept the help. It flitted about from dirt to twig and back again. Thinking that it might be (rightly!) scared by the sight of George the dog, I led him up out of sight--but still no good. I guess its chances for survival are pretty slim, out here in the mean world, but we left hoping that its human friend might somehow manage to find it.
A little further down the hill, we heard the squawking chatter of dozens of birds from high in a magnolia tree, and spotted a flock of them squabbling in the highest branches, their green plumage and oval shape hard to distinguish from the green pods hanging amongst the foliage. We have lived on this hill for close to forty years, and are used to seeing the flock in this particular location. When we lived on this same street, not far from where we live now, our neighbor had a gorgeous coral tree which proved a special attraction for the parrots at this time of year, and their flashes of green provided a wonderful contrast with the scarlet blossoms. Always a joy to see them, despite their incessant, noisy chatter.
This morning, returning from our walk, I checked online and found a website devoted to these brilliant creatures. And I recalled seeing a truly wonderful film, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, about a similar flock in San Francisco and their extraordinary role in the rehabilitation of a homeless man. If you missed this wonderful experience, now is the time to go straight to Netflix. If you need a vacation from the nightmare world of politics, this trip into the best of human nature will provide the needed respite.
As we walked on down the hill, the parrots took off from their perched and offered us the gift of their spectacular flight. (I stole this picture from a site online; in Los Angeles, of course, this morning, the sky would have been clear blue! But as usual, we had left the camera at home. And besides, I doubt that I would have been quick enough to catch the picture with this elegance. I wish I had the patience, the skill, not to mention the observational powers of The Dharma Bums, whose pictures never fail to reinspire my love of the natural world!)
(By the way, not to forget politics entirely, our friend and correspondent Cardozo sends this link to a site for Obama posters. Check it out.)