Early morning and you can still listen to the birdsong. The crows are raucous, the sparrows chirrup and a lone koel (Indian Cuckoo) sends out its piercing signature whistle. Yes, I live in the cramped interior of a large city. Then, suddenly over the chorus, I am startled by the sweetest warble. I pause. Yes, there it comes again! What could it be? If hubby were here, he would tell me. He knew his birds!
That got me thinking of times shared and our many and varied conversations. Hubby had his preferences from among the animal kingdom and so did I. Of birds, he loved the bulbul best; when he spotted one, his face would take on an excited tenderness while he watched. Of dogs, he loved the collie – memories of Lassie fueled that affection. The reality was somewhat different; he soon found out that collies have strong and somewhat wayward personalities, thanks to Bonnie (our collie). Among fish (not of the edible kind) it was a tie between his Kissing Gouramis and Siamese Fighters.
Among fish and birds, I have no favourites but if I must choose I would opt for a certain variety of Goldfish – the ones with the diaphanous fins and tails. They look as if they are draped in chiffon! Among birds, I would choose the falcon - strong, majestic and independent. But they are cruel too. So, perhaps, I had better look at my second choice, the parrot. Chatterboxes all, they come with a variety of amusing anecdotes attached! As for dogs, the Jack Russell wins hands down. Get to know one and you’ll understand why!
I wonder if these preferences say something about our own personalities. I am sure there is a quiz somewhere that will tell me about it! But for now, I’ll hold on to the memory of a gentle, loving, protective man who could only be roused to temper if anything he valued was threatened.
The dawn chorus is fading, smothered by the encroaching sounds of human commute and commerce. Thank God that remembrance, even when overlaid by the present, still returns like the sudden joy of birdsong in the morning.