A pigeon walked in to an art gallery . . . Sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it happened yesterday to me while I was sitting at a gallery co-op where I am a member. It was my turn to be there to man the gallery. It was around 3:00 p.m. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a movement low on the floor. Dressed in its best gray with red feet, head bobbing, a pigeon strolled along the carpeted floor. We keep the door open during the day. The air conditioning is on so it stays cool.
I realized in one of those moments where you see a number of possible scenarios flash before your eyes that this might be a bad thing. If a human were to come in behind it and startle it, the bird might fly. The gallery space is not large, but there are a number of places where a bird could land and perch out of reach. I stood up slowly and casually walked toward it. Pigeons are used to navigating their way around humans. The bird turned around and walked back out the door. I followed it. On the sidewalk another pigeon waited. It wore a slightly mottled gray outfit. Together they turned like a familiar old couple and together walked down the sidewalk towards the nearest cafe. I watched them go. It made me laugh.
Years ago when my son was still living at home, after he had gotten his falconry license he got a phone call. Our small town newspaper had carried an article about him with his birds and the local vets had his name and number to call when a bird was found. Ladies in a shop down in the tourist district said they had found a “baby hawk” and wanted him to come identify it and take it to take care of.
I remember the expression on his face as he talked with the lady on the phone. He frowned and gave his head that little shake. “I doubt that this is a hawk,” he said, “but I’ll go see.”
I don’t think it was even an hour later that he arrived back at the house.
“Well?” I questioned.
He started laughing. He described the group crowded around the cardboard box. Hushed talking and pointing at the occupant of the box he looked inside.
“Its a pigeon” he told them.
The women at the store seemed angry, “Just look at that beak and its feet.” they exclaimed.
“It’s a pigeon” he said.
They didn’t let him have the bird, even though he offered to take it off their hands. His own red tail would have loved to have it.
“Did you laugh” I asked.
“No” he said smiling that familiar smile, “not in front of them . . . they were so sure it was a hawk. I think I made them angry. There were so many people there . . .”
After I ushered the pigeon out of the gallery yesterday I called my daughter. I told her about the event. I wanted to call my son too. He would have found it amusing.
Connections between people come in all shapes and sizes. Little things that get glued together by love like a collage. I do not try to avoid thoughts, I do however have to brace for their impact.
My daughter was home for almost a week. I loved having her home. We talked about so many things. We talked about her brother because he is a part of our life together. It was a good visit. It was tough to let her leave. I wanted to crush her into me there in the driveway as she prepared to return home.
My poor children have had to deal with a mother who adores them.
I wish I had taken a picture of the pigeon.
I have yet to find the sweetness in parting of any kind.