Urban Nature

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is a flock of parrots that flies over my parents´ house in Guadalajara twice a day: at sunrise and sunset.  Last year I tried climbing up on the roof several times in an effort to get a better look at them, but each time I did the parrots took a wide detour around the house.  I suppose they were able to spot me from afar and adjusted their route accordingly.  After several failed efforts, I desisted.

Several months later, as I walked down the street early in the morning, I ran into the flock perching on a tree just a few blocks from the house.  As I wasn’t carrying my camera, I had to make do with just watching them for 10 or 15 minutes before continuing on my way.  I proposed to return to the same tree, at the same time, until I encountered them again.

It was useless.  For several days I not only didn’t see them, but they seemed to be deliberately avoiding me.  Whereas they used to fly over at seven, now the did so at eight.   I´d wait and wait, and finally give up and go home, and once inside I´d hear them fly over.  When I caught on to their new schedule, the decided to fly over not at 8 or 7, but at six thirty, waking me out of bed.  It seemed they were mocking me.

And so it was this morning. I´d been ambling aimlessly through the streets for nearly and hour without seeing or hearing a parrot.  And just as I was about to give up and head home, a single lonely parrot flew overhead squawking as it quickly disappeared from sight. I ridiculously decided to follow it on foot.  Following its general direction, I turned at the corner, and then again at the next, feeling a bit ridiculous.

And then, I heard it.  It wasn’t the chaotic cacophony of the flock, but a single, short and lonely squawk. It was nearby.  I crossed another street and heard it again. I knew I was just below the parrot but could not see it. My eyes systematically scanned every branch- not this not, not that one… Until they finally gazed upon this bright green animal perched between purple jacaranda flowers in an almost perfect scene.

Quietly I raised the camera and just as I was focusing, it flew away!

I felt this instant which I had searched for so long just slip away from me. Frustration and disappointment reared up within me.  In an instant I recognized that pair of useless emotions and denied them expression. “Shut up, you´re not helping!” I thought as I turned to follow the parrot with my eyes, which this time did not fly as far.  I saw it enter a palm tree and slowly approached again only to discover two parrots!  Apparently they had their nest in the skirt of dry leaves hanging between the trunk and the green fronds, as one of them quickly disappeared into a hole while the other watched me.

I again raised the camera, and this time they didn’t mind.  First one, then the other, then both let me take their picture.  They took turns posing, perfectly lit by the rising sun.  When they grew tired of my presence and retired into their nest, I thanked them and walked back home with a big goofy grin on my face, as if I´d won the lottery.

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