The February Birds

February 16, 2007

p(first). A moment of baroque strangeness the other day. In my office clicking away like a good little worker stooge. Snow outside blanched, tall and defeating; temperatures bearing down heavy; vehicle exhaust hanging in the air like a diaphanous tax audit. At the ouskirts of these observations I hear the faint chirp of birds. This isn't entirely unexpected or out of place. I am well aware of the nest located just outside my second-floor window. But it's minus twenty out there. The little wingers are probably freezing their asses off. Still, they chirp high and alive. I imagine they won't last long in this slog. Not much food around these parts these days, what with two feet of snow on the ground and temperatures in the tank. How they survive in this shit is a mystery. I guess I'll take a bit of the small amount of hope that they carry. Keep it for when I really need it. Through the blind slats I see a black bird flitter down the way and disappear over a warehouse roof. So very dark are his wings.

Vignette #166

Front Window Blur, Jan 07

Front Window Blur, Jan 07

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StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.

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The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?

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