Pigeon herding

Of course I left my wonderful SUPA-cool camera at home again today, so you guys will just have to bear with me and deal with the slightly crappy shots from my phone.  Trees through sculptureSorry.  I am doomed to have my camera only when the world around me is ugly.

Today I had to deliver some ‘important papers’ to main campus and on my way back, saw something most interesting.  Two pigeons were perched on a rooftop.  As I watched, one of them dived off, just falling like a rock towards me, then opening his wings into a glide.  It made me wonder, are pigeons ever afraid?  They are pretty fat birds.  Or does instinct just give them an infinite trust that their wings will keep them from splatting on the ground?  The whole thing was just beautiful – the arc of the pigeon’s wings, the sunlight on iridescent feathers, the display of fearlessness.  I wish i’d caught it on tape.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Pigeons are ugly birds.  They waddle, they eat garbage and they barely keep themselves clean.  Even for someone like me, who enjoys chasing them and seeing how close I can get before they take off or how many of them I can get going in the same direction, I wouldn’t want to actually touch one.  I don’ think they’d make a very good pet, or be very soft to touch.  They probably carry lots of noxious diseases, too.

Sun and TreesBut in this case, all that was beside the point.  For a moment, this mangy flying rat was something more than a city scavenger.  And for that transformation, I’m grateful, both for the beauty of the moment and for the potential it imparts to me to be better than myself, if only for a moment.