The Pandemic Days can be a strange thing. There are times when i look up and it's practically time to start making dinner. Where did it go? i say to myself. The week brings school at home and placating the Breadwinner, listening to the trials and tribulations of trying to re-start a business in an industry that most likely is going to be decimated. There is worry about health and livelihood in that order. Unlike the talking heads on various cable news stations i'm not one to worry much about an economy when a daily death toll often eclipses what was once the biggest single day calamity this country has faced. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness all sounds well and good until you realize the game is rigged and that all the money that helps somewhat supply certain aspects of those things flows up to the top while those being told to get back to work hope to steal the crumbs. I'm sure the Masters of Commerce fret and wring their hands over the fact we lumpen-proles have had ample time to think about things. Shit may or may not change as a whole but they understand the biggest fires start with a tiny spark. They'll have to toss more money into the pot to keep the propaganda machines running, to keep us under the yoke and believing in pipe dreams and consumption. Luckily for them we as a culture are stupid, choosing rampant anti-intellectualism over things like rational thought and critical thinking. This fear and distrust of experts astounds me and when confronted with it i often ask the simple question. Do you want the plumber to fly the plane or the pilot?
But the Pandemic Days are days that i am uniquely cut out for, an expert with an honorary PHD in the art and science of doing nothing. Of reading and writing and doing puzzles and staring out windows. Of studying forms of music and coloring pictures (The People of Wal-Mart coloring book) and playing cards with the boyos. The Breadwinner has often been called Snow White by her friends due to her love of animals. The once controversial topic of my sleeping downstairs is no more since her new cat has taken up residence in what i call my former bedroom. Now the controversy would be if i tried to sleep upstairs again because i'd upset the cat. It's alright she's a pretty cool cat saved from an animal rescue shelter. Now in order to entertain the cats (all four of them) she bought a bird feeder, a crazy one with three different places to put three different types of bird feed. Each morning i get up and fill them up and can now cop to the fact it's one of my favorite parts of the day. Standing in the dew and listening to the harmonious call and response of "that fucking guy is finally getting around to feeding us breakfast" (at least that's what i like to think they're tweeting back and forth.) There are squirrels, two groundhogs, chipmunks, a baby bunny and it's mother, the roving herd of deer, a roaming cat or two and of course those lovely raccoons who roll by in the night and devour anything that might be left over. But there is one who has become my favorite.
Call me an aging stoner who reads too much philosophy and wonders if mushrooms aren't the answer to the world's problems, actually it's probably a pretty apt description. These days i'll sit at the table and watch as nature does her dance. I've learned the names of birds i never knew existed, birds that live in a small and dying patch of trees known as Bob Hollow Park. There are the usual suspects, blue jays, cardinals, robins, sparrows. Then there are ones i hadn't heard of, grackles and tufted tit-mouses, downy and pileated woodpeckers, catbirds and cowbirds. There are hawks that circle and turkeys that waddle and there is one bird who waits every morning in a bush that has become my favorite. It's an oriole, all bright orange and black and a bird i didn't even realize inhabited these parts. Each morning it waits and watches and when i'm done it flies in and starts eating. I go back in and take up my seat and watch the rush hour of birds while my cats all sit in the window chittering and chattering away, perfectly still except for the occasional twitch of the tip of their tail. I'll see my oriole friend a half dozen times a day or more, going to and fro from the feeder.
I've realized in the past few weeks i spend more time watching out my back window than i do watching the telly. It's the most interesting show to watch and it's free (except for the bird seed). There is a cooperation between these animals that often seems severely lacking in the opposable thumb and bi-ped set. They take turns at the feeder and when the fat squirrel begins to monopolize the grub the birds chase him away for a bit so they can take their turn. It's interesting to hear the change in noise when the hawks begin to circle, knowing that any one of them could soon be lunch if they're not careful, a conversation i've had with baby bunny who doesn't seem to realize the world is a more dangerous place then the tranquility of this patch of grass and trees lets on. It's a world and system and social order right in front of our eyes that most of us seem to forget and neglect because we're too caught up in the pursuit of trinkets, of precision autos to stroke our ego, of material non-sense. There is more to life than consumption and you are not what you own. In all these little philosophical studies of existence and non-existence there is this theme of energy. It may be called different things but it still comes down to this, that energy can't be destroyed and so at some point when this physical vessel you now call home breaks down it will manifest itself in some other way, you may be a tree or a gnat or a bird or a house cat, you won't remember what you were but you'll know what you are... so to steal a bit from Kurt, dammit babies you gotta be kind. There's no reason not to be and it just might catch on and help elevate our status as animals to an almost civilized level. Now it's time to fill the feeder.