Bird whispering + Birkenstocks

So very little walking has been done in the last week or two. Life has changed again, with restrictions being lifted so that we can now travel further from home, and see one other household each day. That has – delightfully – meant catching up with family and friends, and throwing my (honestly quite prescriptive) routines in the bin. Again.

But here I am at 8am, writing post-walk once more. So much has changed since the last time I wrote to you from the tail end of lockdown two. Max (my middle grown-up kid) has moved in, for starters. That’s resulted in jubilation, much cooking of family meals and the snatches and tumbles of chatter that happen when you are catching up after a very long time (not since APRIL!)

Both grown-up boys were tucked in bed, the dogs equally dozy on the couch as I set off on my neighbourhood ramble today. I didn’t even bother to change into appropriate exercise clothing, instead staggering down the driveway in leggings, a Choose Love t-shirt dress, sparkly Birkenstocks and a long and fluffy cardigan that has seen better days.

It had been 48 hours or so since the US polls closed and we still did not have a result. I’d woken up at 2.22am and reached for my phone in the hopes that Biden had things totally stitched up. No dice, unfortunately, so I turned on rain sounds and eventually drifted back to sleep.

When I woke again at 7 there was still no news, so a walk seemed like the very best idea. The streets were waiting for me, quite deserted, but festooned with bolstering blooms, haphazard patterns lining the path. Spiky leaves, rounded leaves, spiky leaves, more round.

A bird fight broke out overhead. Galahs vs mynas and currawongs. The galahs were the loudest street-fighters but they also fled quickly in a flutter of outrage leaving the winners in their wake.

I trotted down the street noticing the newest flowers, movements in front windows, the rumble of cars starting up in driveways, the jumble of forgotten rubbish bins.

Across the road, a man strode quickly towards the park. He was wearing giant ugly white sneakers, grey track pants and a navy polar fleece jumper. Earphones were firmly planted amidst the strings of a blue surgical mask which matched mine exactly. That was the only match really. His pace was double mine and I wondered if the mynas gang would rumble with him as he headed for their tree.

Perhaps they did. I do not know. What I do know is that they issued a half-hearted challenge to me as I passed a minute or two later. I just said a cheerful good morning to them and they swept and fluttered away.

I walked alongside the park, past the disappeared house, towards the between-houses path. The grass was lush in the wake of quite plentiful rain, but the greenspace was mostly empty. Just one woman and her (black) dog moving in the distance.

As I headed down the between-houses path, my hair was ruffled by a sudden breeze. A magpie touched down in front of me on the grass. He’d chosen not to make contact, which I appreciated, so I started a conversation which consisted of me saying “good morning” approximately seventeen times in a sing-song voice.

The magpie puffed up his gleaming black chest, fixing me with one bead of an eye. Then he began warbling, tossing his head back and stretching his bird neck to ensure ease of song.

This went on for a minute or so, and then he hopped off and I walked on.

I passed a girl with pink hair, walking a curly sort of dog. She was wearing sneakers with socks pulled up. Short shorts and a long sleeved rugby shirt.

“Good morning!” she called, looking approvingly at my shirt.

“Good morning!” I called back (again!)

I walked on, turning around to take one more look at her pretty pink hair. As I did, I noticed the magpie had crossed the road and was hopping along behind me.

I am a bird whisperer now, I decided as I headed up the hill for home.