April 20, 2011
Dinner is over. I’ve washed the dishes and read the paper and watched the news on television. Now I’m sitting on my balcony looking straight out at lush treetops. It’s dusk, and a cawing crow alights on a branch in front of me. Its cries are a mighty effort even for such a large bird, and its wings recoil with each shout-out. Soon, a second crow as big as the first one lands on a wire very near the first, then a third settles on a telephone pole several yards away. The first two are mates. I know all three, having watched them now for many sun-downs. They look identical, but I recognize their interactive behavior. For a beat or two the second crow eyes the antics of the original screamer, then takes up the cawing game. Quickly, the third crow follows suit. The first time I saw this crew I remember wondering what the bond between them amounted to. Are the two merely a couple? Is the single one an offspring, returned to live — so to speak — at home? Is the furious caterwauling some sort of family argument? Or perhaps a jealous complication created by a complex domestic arrangement? Interesting, I think, how my lonely thoughts create personifications.
Minutes pass. The sun is well below the horizon and my crows have disappeared from view. I suppose they’ve gone to their nests or caves or whatever for the night. The sky continues its slow darkening. The last trace of orange streaks the western horizon. One by one all sound abandons the evening, every distant warble. For twenty minutes or more there is no movement or noise near my balcony — just early evening stillness.
For a long time I’m in a dreamy trance, then I notice a rapid movement at the edge of my vision. Wings are once again propelling in the cool night. Another “friend” of mine, a bat, has emerged to feed on night bugs. It flies directly at me, then veers into a steep diagonal climb, then swoops down and darts sharply in the opposite direction. I watch its stunting display and wonder: Does it have a mate? Is that sharp ticking noise a coded message, or simply sonar? Before I have time to think again my tiny messenger is lost in the black sky.
Copyright © 2011 Jim Sizemore.
December 21, 2009
It’s rare for me to laugh out loud when reading e-mail messages, but last week I had one that broke me up, to put it mildly. After I wiped away the laugh tears I quickly asked the sender for permission to change the name of the little protagonist and write-up the tale as a blog post. The sender gave her consent and the story is herewith presented for your reading pleasure.
Recently the daughter of an old friend took her 3-year-old son—I’ll call him Freddie—to the doctor for a regular checkup. The doctor walked into the room and, after some small talk and the normal exam of the lad’s ears, throat, chest, etc., she slipped his pants off. The eyes of the mother and doctor widened when they noted a large bulge in the crotch of Freddie’s brief’s. “Could my little man be having an erection?” the mother wondered. As the doctor pulled Freddie’s briefs down, out sprang this large pink thing. Then another. And yet another—they popped out like those snakes-in-a-can novelties do when you take the lid off. When Freddie’s mom and the doctor recovered from their mild fright, they were surprised to find that he had hidden a selection of his mother’s pink sponge hair rollers in his pants. My friend’s e-mail about her grandson’s interesting horde ended this way: “We may never know why he did such a thing.”
As to why Freddie did what he did, I have a theory. It’s simple. That boy loves his mother. As Freud might have opined, what else could such delightfully funny-strange behavior symbolize?
Copyright © 2009 Jim Sizemore.
September 22, 2008
A Dialogue Doodle
The scene: A park bench, late afternoon. A very young couple (she with a serious expression, he looking distressed) are deep in conversation and oblivious to a man (me) passing by.
He: What can I say? I don’t know how to respond when you—
She (interrupting): Look, rather than have you guessing about what I’m thinking, I’d rather be up front and honest and tell you straight out what I’m observing about your behavior.
He: What? What did I do that was so—
She (interrupting): You know what I’m talking about. You do it all the time. Constantly. Constantly.
The above text is a recreation of a snippet of conversation overheard on the fly. I find it intriguing because it suggests what may have gone before and what may follow. This slice of time has been slightly edited and/or expanded and put in script form for (I hope) your reading pleasure. Copyright © 2008 Jim Sizemore.