I don’t know how to explain this so I’m just going to blurt.
For a little less than two months, I’ve been going outside for walks. Ivan, an actual rocket scientist and former member of the short-sleeve white shirt/brown tie/90-hour work week brigade, calls outdoors “the Big Blue Room.” You know, with all the nature. When you go out in the Big Blue Room and see all the nature, like the Abyss, nature sees you back. From the first, I noticed squirrels and robins in New Brunswick and Highland Park. I see cats, too, prowling and unafraid. These animals look healthy, well-fed and sure of themselves. Three doors down from my apartment, I turned the corner and found a man standing on a sidewalk smoking a butt, surrounded by squirrels. I crossed the street and looked back to see if the squirrels smoked, too.
It’s the robins that confuse me. They’re everywhere. I don’t remember ever paying much attention to them. I mean, they’re small birds. They stop by for lunch, then they’re off to Pismo Beach, right? I see them every day now. Each time I go out walking, a robin lands about ten feet in front of me, watches, flies another ten feet, watches, flies another ten feet and watches me. Another thing the robins do is land a few paces ahead of me and hop in rhythm. This is really strange. Sometimes, a bird will hop and fly a whole block with me. I talk to them now.
Tata: Listen, I see you!
I don’t speak that language. It’s like watching a Japanese film with the subtitles cut off. If I open my curtains, robins are standing on the lawn. Each time I go outside, they cross my path. Their presence has meaning, even if it’s just that we’re experiencing an excellent worm season. I don’t know what that meaning could be. It doesn’t seem creepy.
It’s as if the universe is ringing my doorbell and I can’t find my bathrobe.