2003-04-11 - 9:44 a.m.
Hummingbird Report: A nice male R-T who came very close to my window.
When I got up this morning, I discovered that the baby Carolina Chickadees have fledged and slipped quietly out of the nestbox. I could hear their scratchy voices calling from the overgrown CLECO right of way, and the parents are still coming and going to bring them food. I hope when they get stronger and don't need to hide in the brush so much that the parents will bring them back to the suet feeder and teach them how to use it like they did last year.
I had a lot of trouble settling my thoughts last night and getting to sleep, even though I should have been exhausted. The numbers of Hooded Warblers and other vividly colored species were almost hallucinogenic. The intensity and variety of these old-fashioned spring days -- old-fashioned in the sense that there are warm days and cold days and storms, instead of a sudden heat wave from mid-February onward -- and the numbers, variety, and, often, the closeness of the birds brings to mind one of those dreams where one is surrounded by birds (or by chocolate or by money or by gemstones or by men or whatever) on all sides. The vividness of the colors, especially: Was scarlet ever this scarlet, indigo this indigo, buttery yellow this yellow?
In Ubik, Philip K. Dick dealt with the experience of death from the point of view of the dead, who were maintained in half-life and who were flickering in and out of their dream worlds before, inevitably, little hints of reality crept in to remind them that they were, in fact, dead and that one day they would flick off altogether. The same idea was explored for the popular audience in the Tom Cruise movie Vanilla Sky, which annoyed me by not properly crediting Dick but pleased me in its beautiful execution. (The hall of heads was just as I'd imagined it years ago when first reading Ubik.) Of course, the frozen heads of Walt Disney and Robert Anton Wilson's child and all the rest aren't in half-life. They are just dead, the cells exploded by ice crystals, since water has the odd and mysterious property of expanding when it freezes. But I sometimes wonder if this is what life (half life?) is like for a ghost, assuming there are such things as ghosts. Just as a light bulb sometimes seems to glow brightest before it explodes, the spirit without a body to sustain it flickers out faster, or slower, but inevitably it does flicker out. And yet, perhaps, in the moment before it winks out forever, there is a sudden illuminating brightness.
I'm not sure this entry makes any sense. I need to get ready to leave for the Bird Fest now. More later.
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