Monday, 17 November 2014

A Chorus of Strange Birds

I found myself in a deserted plain of wood, metal, clay and rock. So deserted that I stopped and looked about me; for I was not in the wilds of mountain ranges nor in a desert, but in my own town at about 5 o’clock on a Sunday in late spring, nearly summer. I felt an eerie hand grip my shoulder, as dry leaves cartwheeled along at their own ghostly pace, picked up by the wind. The sky was grey and threatening, as though it had somehow sucked all the other people out into a third dimension, not so very far away and I was totally alone on this earth.

And then I heard it; I heard the chorus of a modern flock of strange birds. And listened all the more. I let the chorus take hold of me, and I heard the flap, flap flapping, and the ting ting ting, and the whoop whoop whoop, tong tong, and the clack clack clack, the clunk clunk repeat over and over again about me. It was musical. Almost as though I was hearing xylophones in their native habitat twitter and talk to each other, on the wing of the wind which blew in short gusts about me. Then there would be the flap flap flapping as though birds, near at hand were flying off or in, but no birds could I see.

It was a moment of pure wonder; a thrill of excitement, almost transporting me to another world.

Slowly the magic of the moment gave way to reason, and I perceived the true state of things. I saw the Australian Flag across the road near the Council and heard it flap flap flapping in the wind, and each time there was a ting ting ting of a ring of metal touching the metal flag pole.

The shop fronts blinds, half down, of striped material, tied with cord, said whoop whoop whoop, and a metallic tong tong as they attempted to escape their metal bonds.

A wire gate, not properly locked went tong tong ting, every now and then, when a gust was strong enough to tempt it to break free. A clack clack clack of hard plastic sounded from on top of the bank roof, and a clunk clunk clunk of a dinted aluminium can rolling lightly back and forth in the gutter, then stopping, as if searching for danger, and when all was clear, it continued onward.

I put one foot in front of the other, rather sad that I lost my magical chorus of strange birds, but I was hungry, and proceed to the takeaway store.

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