Saturday, April 19, 2008

cranes, blackbirds, climbing

A photograph in the paper of crane masts profiled against a background of fluffy clouds and blue sky, reminds me that the words for the machine and the bird are the same not just in English, but in French (grue) and Italian (gru). Presumably, in the early days of the machine, a perceived similarity gave rise to its appropriation of the word.

The two male blackbirds which, first thing in the morning, were disputing territory on the roof of the house opposite, the other day, were at it again this morning. They challenge one another on the same area of the roof and head-on in the air with the same fluttering action. Just recently I have noticed how loud is the blackbird song outside our bedroom window at dawn, and guess that it must be the same birds disputing the same territory. It is a lovely sound , so much more beautiful than its apparent purpose.

In the Grove, I watch two boys climbing a tall, difficult tree. They ascend with the steady assurance and intelligent progress of rock climbers. And it pleases me that, in an age when the game of conkers is banned in some schools because of possible dangers, and children have to wear crash helmets on their bikes, it is still possible for children to undertake adventurous activities without being nannied.


Lucas said...

I agree with your reflections on the beauty of the sound made by the disputing black birds. There must be plenty of human examples where beauty is the by product of the aggressive or defensive instinct. My interest in aeroplanes once led me to a description of the sound of an early Mark Spitfire travelling across a clear September sky. The writer rated this as a very beautiful sound!

Lucy said...

The female ones were scrapping on our terrace too today, as well as their husbands. They are very turbulent birds, but can be forgiven much for that song.