Saturday, 29 December 2012

Brightly Coloured Flying Mice

I don't know why we like them but we do. Their simple, energetic battles for nuts forms a microcosm of  the wilds. An endless competition for food that's existed for beyond our lifetimes. All the evolution in the world, leading to a Saturday morning sparring-match across the bird feeders. It starts as the morning begins and night fades to the west, awakened by the glow of dawn. The winter days' rising sun pushing it later; my breakfast entertainment missed.

Their colours are their avian dressage; pomp and regalia for their rivals. It's strange. A perfect camouflage hides them in the bushes and the grass but like coins on concrete. Their contrast stark on the grey slabs, chasing, alive amongst the winter's deadness. The flora paused, the fauna bursting.

I impose a hierarchy on them. The green tits take the lower levels. There's too many to see each one as an  individual, special, so they form a backdrop for the goldfinches and the odd robin that takes authority. Bearing livery collars of rouge and crowns of cardinal red, they take office unconsciously. A monarchy dictated by rarity; human evaluation on each shining mystery of life.

Fragility and speed, eluding the eye as the take from the hedgerow. A bounce, to a skip and a flutter and they're catching the mesh. An ever cautious eye, keeping watch over their shoulders, hiding themselves against their nourishment. Pausing only for a moment, to take note of the ever approaching competition, surveying from each vantage point.

The source of my enthusiasm eludes me. Scavengers existing for millennia yet take from a dispensable sympathy. Our own ingenuity has taken us from the ever warm tropics, ever present warmth, abundant rains and bountiful crops to our coats, our cars, our houses and to roofs that create this hostile chill.

They don't need us; they don't want us. We hold them dependent in our gardens for viewing pleasure. They aren't mine. They'll leave when the seasons turn. I won't watch them, I won't know where they are. My mind will wander to the trees, as they emerge and arise back from the depths of Winter. Their greenery takes to them and all will be living.

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