Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The early bird watcher.

As I sit, tired and drowsy, at my desk in my apartment at 6:15 a.m on a grey drizzly wednesday morning after having dropped off my wife at the railway station, I'm wondering whether time actually moves faster when you are asleep. It appears to have been only a couple of hours earlier that yesterday ended, and today has already begun.

Just as I am pondering the wisdom of taking an early morning swig of beer in order to jumpstart my lethargic brain cells, I happen to glance outside my window, through the rain, at the house across the street. It is dark and peaceful and hints of people ensconced in a deep slumber. I know, from my observations that it is the home of a very tiny, very old lady, who lives alone. The only time I see her is on sunday morning when she comes out of her house to clip the hedge outside her window. Which is strange, because it is usually the maintenance folk who perform this task. Perhaps she is just paranoid, I wonder, of someone jumping out at her from behind the hedge after she returns from a day of grocery shopping. In the short period of time I have been living in this apartment, I have never seen her have any visitors. She does not own a car, and that is a bit of good fortune for me because I get to keep her parking space. The number of parking spaces is very limited in this apartment complex. But that is beside the point.

So, as I am looking out of my window, gazing at the silent house and weighing the pros and cons of stepping outside in the rain to throw out my trash (which has turned funky during the night), a light on the second floor abruptly turns on. After a while, the light in the stairway turns on, and by and by, the first floor of the house lights up. From this sequence of events, I deduce that the old lady just woke up, waddled down the stairs and is now occupying the first floor of the house.

Soon, the front door opens and the old lady comes out, attired in immaculate rain gear (it is raining pretty heavily now) and stands on her doorstep. And she just stands there. My curiousity is piqued. She appears to be looking at the sky. She looks left, then looks right, all the while looking above. I wonder if she is going to start dancing around the lamp post, "singing in the rain". But it's 6:30 a.m, it is raining, and she is old. I discard the idea.

Then, suddenly, I hear a honking sound. I look up through my window and I see a flock of birds, geese to be precise, fly by. It is quite a large number of birds, and they are flying pretty low, just about at my roof level. I glance at the old woman and she is enthralled, watching the birds with considerable interest. Even after the birds are gone, she still stands there. Then, after a while, another flock comes by, even larger and honkier than the first. This batch of birds receives the same rapt attention as did the previous one. Once this flock leaves and the air is silent again, she opens her front door and waddles back inside. The door closes behind her. Then, the lights in her house turn on and off in a reverse sequence. Soon, the house is again dark and peaceful.

The old lady is asleep.


chappan said...

Maybe she is Martha Stewart, still serving her arrest !!!

Anonymous said...

It was kinda nice meloncholy heartbreaking, warm and life affirming all at-once to read about this old woman.

She is probably is all alone in this world. and yet at this lonely juncture in her life she still finds something worth getting up to watch. Interesting story for our generation which is perpetually bored.....MINOTAUR

Michael Higgins said...

Hi Gawker
Very good post.
It catches a glimpse of what makes ones life worth living. For the old lady, seeing the geese fly by her home was probably the highlight of the day.

Of course, when we are old and grey, we will have time to blog to our heart's content. Something to look forward to. :)

Patrix said...

I love such posts where nothing really dramatic happens yet the use of words makes the whole scene so vivid that you almost see it happening right before your eyes. It isn't easy to write that way. Great post!

gawker said...

sourin ... somehow i doubt martha stewart would be willing to spoil her beauty sleep to watch birds.

mino .. true ... somehow old people in the US make me feel very depressed. Whenever I look at them I can feel their unspoken request to the world to acknowledge their presence, you know what I mean.

Michael thanks ... The problem is, when I am old and grey I would probably have to go out and watch birds myself, then come back in and blog about that.

Patrix thank you sir your comments and compliments are greatly appreciated. This was really almost a live commentary sort of post, I typed it almost as it was happening before my eyes.