Pattern Birds

Daylight savings has sprung forward, and some days are downright hot. The evenings that are warm I walk home from Town Hall station instead of taking the train. I need the exercise and the extra time alone allows me to introspect after a busy day at work. I find myself looking up, and around, getting in touch with the city in as many sensory ways as possible. I listen to the traffic noises and scraps of conversation, smell the stink of garbage and then pass mouthwatering aromas from a restaurant. I look at the sky and the buildings standing out against the twilight, everything lit up, the street bustling, enjoying the energy and the variety.

There's so much going on, I know I miss things. And I wonder what I see that others miss. Do the crowds register the jazz bubbling up from those buskers on the corner near the beginning of Chinatown? Do they see the Art Deco tiles brightly clambering up the side of that building?

A couple of times as I walked up George St towards Railway Square, an odd thing catches my eye. Both times it's been after dark, and the lights coming off one of the taller buildings lights up an area against the darker purple velvet backdrop of evening. Drifting like motes of dust you can see seagulls wheeling in the light, gray specks against the sky. They stay in one place, they seem drawn to the light like moths. I wonder if there isn't a store of fish or garbage nearby, but they never land-- just endlessly circle and loop, pale and dimly glinting, their wings making sharp angles to either side of thier little bullet bodies.

Whenever I see them, I have to stare up, up, not watching the sidewalk, trying to dodge other pedestrians using only my peripheral vision. I watch the birds scribing endless loops and swirls, lit up by the city lights, shining against the night sky like small gray wandering stars.