The magpie

I guess the magpie is the cause of yesterday’s morose mood, as witnessed by that previous post.

Well, what’s left of it: a mangled pancake. Broken feathers.

One of the joys of moving back inside a city, from living regionally, next to a beach, was the fact that I can walk to most places I need to go to on any particular day. I walk my children to school. I like the walk; I dig our neighbourhood. Around the corner from our place, along a nicely multicultural innercity restaurant strip, passing bearded boys skateboarding and girls in skirts on fixies with baskets, we’d walk beneath a tree where a magpie and her teenage offspring — I call them teenagers, these demanding birds with not-quite-matured feathers and a noisy attitude — would sit, calling out to us as we passed. The birds would often swoop over to the Greek couple’s house adjacent, and remove a grasshopper or two from the basil. They were friendly in that magpie way, so hospitable and all, letting you share their space. I don’t understand magpie haters. My aunt has this theory, that magpies share a collective consciousness that lets them know which humans have done good by their breed. And they leave us, the magpie-aphiles, alone. Scoff, but disprove me. I have walked beneath scores of magpie nests in breeding season. There’s one three houses along my street. I’ll throw a magpie a stale crust. I have never been attacked. So, you cyclist with your silly straws poking out of your helmet, hear this: perhaps that magpie can read your thoughts. Sense your fear. Know your heart.

Anyway, I digress. It’s not unusual. I loved hearing their chortle, these magpies. Each morning, most afternoons.

Then, yesterday, or maybe the day before, I had to drive to school as I was driving on somewhere afterwards. I drove past the Greeks’ house. And, in the middle of the road beneath their tree, there was a little black and white body, smashed by a car, and I’d say smashed again. I don’t know how anyone could be driving that quickly on that narrow road that they’d actually hit the birds. But they did. Wonder where the other one has gone.