Today, mid-conversation, a pigeon swooped deep into the kitchen and slammed itself against the wall before sliding down to rest on the radiator. It had that look of I’ve-broken-my-neck-but-running-on-adrenalin like the sparrows that crashed into our patio doors when I was a kid.
Is it in Beowolf, that metaphor of life as a dove’s flight in one end of a hall and out the other? The briefness and beauty of a few wing beats and the sight of a white bird suddenly in the room where sunlight strobes in through gaps in the wooden walls.
I caught it and held it tight so it wouldn’t flap out of my hands and make a mess, messing itself and scrabbling about on the sideboard and plates before cracking its beak on the windows again, trying to get out. I let the kids stroke it: we quickly take advantage of events like this. I was watching for its tongue, to see if it hung limp.
We set it on the lawn and watched it wobble off to the safe dark under a bush before regaining its wits and flapping noisily up to the trees.
And the coincidence is: another pigeon, this time dead in the gutter when we got home.
It was in a good state, I mean not smashed or bloody. Another pigeon. A co incidence. Happening twice. The impulse is to attach meaning, or, if not full-blown meaning, at least to remark upon the co incidence. It becomes a leitmotif of the day, which in reflection punctuates our living with two instances of focus.
How I held the drab bird and found the dead one. Saw how neatly it was folded into the gutter. The live one stumbling towards the end of the garden and the dead one, recently dead, with barely an ant on it. Even on its moist, opened eye.
The live one slapping and scraping its messy life down the wall and the dead one waiting for us. I needed to look at the dead one, to enjoy its design and colouring and see how, vacated of urges, its wings and talons had returned to a default positioning.
A day of friends and talk and children and the co incidence of the two birds. One dead and prodded by our inquisitiveness like the unexplained severed hand inspected in Un Chien Andalou.