It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Mary vs the Birds: A Reprieve

I learned something new about birds this morning. My earplugs were in, the fan was on, but all experience indicated that despite my preparations I would be woken at the butt-crack of dawn by joyously demented birds singing the praise of the pearl-grey dawn. Which is happening, in these parts, at four a.m.


Even for early-bird me — the irony of that descriptor just hit me as I typed it. Seems I am a laggard early bird, grousing at the end of the line, all the keener birds chittering gaily ahead. Let’s try that again: Even for early riser me, four ghastly ay em is the middle of the night. I do not care if the sky is glowing over there in the east. I do not care that the sun’s pearly fingers are caressing the fading edges of night. I do not care about any of that glorious, pre-dawn shit. I would like to stay asleep for another hour. That’s all I ask. Just another hour. Five is a perfectly acceptable wake-time.

(And for all of you rearing back in horror, you can at least concede that I’m not asking a whole lot. I’m not asking that they hold off for three or four hours. Just one. A mere 60 minutes.)

So this morning I wake — on my own! feeling ready to be awake!! — open an eye and peer at the clock, and find …

It’s 5:06. Whee! And no birds sang.

Whyever not? It’s silent out there. Not one single peep. In fact, it’s strangely, unnaturally still out there. I really don’t believe in that precise an answer to prayer. Even assuming I would pester the almighty with demands for something so incontenstibly against nature and so purely selfish. Which I didn’t. So. It’s not an answer to prayer. (Even though YES!! It IS!!!)

I savour the treat of waking on my own clock for three more minutes or so (normally I leap out of bed when my eyelids flutter delicately open) and then …

a long, loud rumble of thunder.

Well. What do you know? I should probably know this from my camping days. Guess I’d forgotten.

The Dawn Chorus cancels the show for thunder.

Let’s hear it for a long, thunderous summer.

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Canada | , , , | Leave a comment

Mary vs The Birds (The birds are winning)

Ah spring. Or maybe it’s early summer now. We’ve certainly had summer-hot days already, though yesterday was a gentle 23 degrees with lots of cloud. Definitely more spring than summer.

(PERFECT weather, I was informed that morning, just PERFECT! Perfect for running a half-marathon, that is. If one cares to do such thing. This was Ottawa’s Race Weekend. Ten thousand runners in the 5k, another ten thousand in the 10k. Those races were on Saturday. The half and full marathon were on Sunday. I’m assuming another ten thousand for each of them.

Good thing we never drive downtown. I’m sure the traffic was a MESS.)

And with the rising temperatures, and oh! the bliss! the lengthening days, come green grass, flowers, and birds. The swans are back on the river! (Possibly for the last year, unless some generous person will donate the $350,000 it takes to keep them each year. I will miss them, particularly the delicate black ones. Any of you know anyone with a spare $350k kicking around?)

The birds. Songbirds, chirping away. Delicate twitterings, liquid warblings, cheerful chirps. I’m a morning person, pretty much up with the birds, and to be woken to the dawn chorus flowing through my bedroom window is quite the treat.

Well, was. Last week, I noticed that it’s crept earlier. I routinely wake at five or five-thirty, no alarm necessary. To be rising to consciousness with the rising tide of birdsong? Lovely.

But last week, I was woken every morning at 4:30. Even by my early-riser standards, that’s extreme. I’m up with the birds. I’m not down with 4:30. There are limits. Later in the summer, when the nights get hot, we’ll put in our window AC unit, and over the steady roar of that cool-delivering wonder, I won’t hear anything. Truly, I hold off on the AC, not just for energy-conserving concerns, but because I prefer fresh air to circulated-through-humming-machine air.

So until it gets really stinking hot at night, the window is open all night. And all dawn.

The birds? This morning?



Actually, not really “birds”. Just one early-early bird, the little keener, right outside my bedroom window, with a lovely warbling — and extremely piercing — CHIRP-A-WARBLE-WARBLE-CHIRP! CHIRP!

I stared at the clock. I cannot get up now. I was up late last night. (Hey, 10:18 is too late when you’re up at 4-fking-30.) I will be utterly non-functional. Good lord. Must shut the window.

Easier said than done. Damn thing’s wedged shut in the humidity. Shaking it, wiggling it, hanging off it, nothing is shifting that thing. And meantime, our little keener bird warbles on. Loudly.

Matthew, hoping no doubt that his wife would stop assaulting the window and waking him up, suggested that I turn on the fan for white noise. Recognizing a good idea when I hear it — and the futility of further assaults on the window — I did just that.

That damned bird is louder than our fan.

So I pulled the pillow over my head.

I woke at 5:30.

MUCH more civilized.

May 24, 2012 Posted by | Ottawa | , , , | 1 Comment