Monday, 18 May 2020

I Socially Distance

I sat out this morning on my garden. A roof top garden is a garden you sit on not in. Prepositions are powerful.

I've made it my own, organising a set of pots into various patterns and non-patterns over the past weeks, adding stones from my collection of stones, and half tiles from what remain of my February bathroom improvements.

Releasing the stones back into the semi-wild has been a Good Move, for them and for me. Previously, they'd perched on shelves in my living room, reminding me, in complicated ways, of trips to the beach, holidays, a catastrophically painful relationship. Outside once more, they are in their element, in a bigger context.

This morning - let's get back to it - blackbirds came to the dish of water I've left out for the blue tits. I mean, any bird can have a drink or a bath in the dish, but it was the blue tits which inspired my benevolence.

The second blackbird to come was bold. He drank five beakfuls, stretching down to fill his lower beak, then tipping his head back to swallow. All this within two metres of me. Well, within two metres of my head. My feet were considerably closer.


Here's a photo of my feet, dish nearby, minus the blackbird. I didn't want to move to photograph him whilst he was drinking. But he was there, in all his sleek black orange-beaked glory. Trust me. I was reading, so sitting very still. (The book? A Guide to Statutory Social Work Interventions - The Lived Experience:  sorry Anna).

My feet were (let's go imperial) three feet from the bird. It was my head that was socially distanced.

Over lunch, I chatted to my son about the meaning of social distance.  He pointed out that his head is socially distanced from his feet, unless he's engaged in yoga.  A reason to stop doing yoga, if you were looking for one, I said.

This confusion seems to be widespread - why else would some people veer into hedges or oncoming traffic when another person approaches, and others keep doggedly moving forward, passing by, bringing our heads no more than two feet apart.

The blackbird was at just the right distance from me for me to appreciate his bold glory. We both kept safe. He left after his drink to sit on a nearby branch. His song stretched from there to here, causing soundwaves to vibrate my maleus, incus and stapes -  reaching right inside of me.

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