Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Small pleasures

Winter mornings bring joy in the form of sun all across the south-facing windows of our long apartment. Well before the sun rises, we are treated to - or bombarded by - the flock of wild parrots (see documentary film, THE WILD PARROTS OF TELEGRAPH HILL for reference, although I don't believe ours have ever been tamed) who consider the trees and skies of South Pasadena home. I would describe their cries as shrieks and they seem to have perfected the ability to make their signature noise in unison. What a racket. By the time I have prepared breakfast they are settled in the leafless tree across the street or are rehearsing for their circus acts by swinging upside down on the dried fronds of palms which line our block.

The same sun warming my bedroom and the chair in front of the computer hits the greener fronds with a gloss almost metallic in its sheen. While I have a lifelong friend who truly resides in paradise on the island of Molokai, I feel amply blessed by our version of suburban heaven on a continent held fiercely by winter. I spent one winter away from California in an East Coast city not all-that cold - except for the morning I was apartment hunting and the temperature was 3. My face, even with scarf swathing, was immobilized. What I know of myself is that, despite those DAR roots and several generations which migrated from Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts and Finland, I am a California girl. By now I KNOW I'm past the point of adapting to icy sidewalks and windshield scraping, though I remember the first snowfall in my wintery home, the way it took a few minutes to notice that every sound had been hushed while we heated turnovers and filled the kitchen with the scent of apples and cinnamon.

Today there is a mild breeze, the fronds sway but any rustling is overpowered by traffic several blocks away. Squirrels sprint up and down the trunks and venture across the utility lines for unseen prizes. Beyond the rooftops and through the trees I see inbound jets on the landing path for the Los Angeles airport. Depending on wind direction, even flights from the west pass within our view as they turn around to make a final approach from the east.

As the sun rises and sets, frequent high-level clouds grow pink and orange, then vanish leaving the sky its clear winter blue or impenetrable shade of night. The nearby high school athletic field is well-lit for runners, walkers or any team sport in season. One film shoot at the school brought a glowing orb that hovered over the neighborhood creating night-for-day. On the Fourth of July we have fireworks outside our windows, Wednesdays bring band practice and random mornings present the drum line and what we take to be the marimba...or could it be a xylophone? In football season we learn what has been chosen as THE tune of the year...and I'm happy to report it is no longer "Eye of the Tiger."

Warmth, wildlife, commerce and music, just beyond the window. It is a good day.

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