Saturday, June 2, 2012

On The Balcony and The Birds.

I spend a lot of time outdoors but not always does that outdoor time involve adventures away from home. Much of the time, those outdoor moments come right at home, on the balcony. More and more in the past 6 months.

I have discovered that much of what I need cannot be found indoors.

As "homes" go, ours has proven to be an ok place. It's a one bedroom unit in a 11 story apartment building situated about midway between downtown's newly renovated City Hall and the base of "the escarpment", a vertical geographic feature which divides this Southern Ontario city of just over half a million souls. We (myself, my wife Tammy and our chihuahua Isabeau) can walk to either City Hall or the escarpment in about 10 minutes, more if Isabeau decides to stop and sniff more than usual.

Our apartment is on the 7th floor and looks west. Our Balcony is about 20 feet long and is accessed through a sliding glass door at one end of what we call "the living room". (because it has the TV set and is the place where we entertain company because it's the only space in our apartment big enough for any extra people to fit alongside us.)

The view from the balcony stretches off to the west but a large chunk of it in the middle is made up of the middle floors of another apartment building on the land beside us. It is one of almost 20 other apartment buildings visible from our balcony. That sounds bad but it really isn't. those other apartment buildings, aside from the behemoth across the alley, blend into the overall scenic view, interesting islands amid what is essentially a forest of trees overseeing block after block of old red-bricked houses.

Trees for as far as the eye can see. Not bad for a downtown apartment in a city of half a million people. Not bad at all. With those tree come an amazing variety of birds. I see lots of birds from our balcony. There are the city regulars of course, the pigeon, starling, robins and various gulls that one would expect in a welcoming city habitat of trees, parks and gardens.

Birds love the trees, parks and gardens but our neighborhood also boasts brush & bramble thicket filled gullies, untamed back alleys, railroad lines, overgrown derelict buildings and vacant lots... and of course, the towering city-wide and miles beyond natural wonder that is the Niagara Escarpment. Because of all these bird-friendly environments in our neighborhood (and much of the rest of the "old" part of the city) there are numerous bird species to be seen from our balcony.

Red-winged Blackbirds, Blue Jays, Mocking Birds, Red-tailed Hawks, Cormorants, Peregrine Falcons, Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Chickadees, Great Blue Herons, Goldfinches, Yellow Warblers, Cowbirds, Canadian Geese, House Sparrows... and then numerous sparrow and finch species as yet not specifically identified and numerous other mystery birds have all been sighted from our balcony.

I love watching the birds from our balcony. I'd rather be out there watching those amazing creatures go about their lives than inside on the couch watching TV or sitting at the computer.

From my own perch, a 4 ft wide, 20 ft long slab of concrete 7 stories above the ground watching the birds...

I can sense the edges of the patterns
that bind all things together
that make sense of being
that lead to balance.

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