Entry: My current situation...in folk tale Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Due to obvious circumstances I am not able to discuss in vivid, lurid detail the plight that has been thrust upon me.  So I have tried, with little success until now, to find a literary parallel to help better inform those who care about me.  So when people send me messages saying variations on, "What the heck is going on with you?", this is my reply.  Any more detail will have to come in person.  So fellow pigeons and bystanders, here is an excerpt from John Berendt's (most famous for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) book "The City of Falling Angels", chapter 10 pages 234-235. 

These lawyers know they can't prove their clients weren't negligent because they WERE negligent.  But if they can persuade the court that it was a case of arson, and if an arsonist can be found and convicted, then all charges of negligence are automatically dropped, by law.

"Are you suggesting that the experts have been pressured into changing their minds?"

De Luigi shrugged. "It's never that blatant.  It's more subtle than that."

I was about to ask De Luigi what kind of subtlety he had in mind when a woman sitting at the table next to us gasped.  A seagull had landed in the midst of a cluster of pigeons pecking at bread crumbs and had seized one of the pigeons by the beak.  The pigeon was flapping and wriggling, trying to free itself from the much bigger seagull. In short order,the seagull had the pigeon pinned to the pavement and was jabbing its chest with its long, sharp beak.  After a few moments, it pulled out a bloody morsel the size of a large grape -- the pigeon's heart, no doubt -- juggled it in its beak, and swallowed it.

The seagull left the dead pigeon lying on the paving stones and strutted toward the edge of the San Barnaba Canal. (omitted) The other pigeons, having flown away in panic during the attack, fluttered back and resumed pecking at the bread crumbs only a few feet away from the seagull, sensing perhaps that its appetite had been satisfied.  The woman at the next table shuddered and turned away. De Luigi chuckled silently.

"There you have it," he said, "acted out before your eyes.  An allegory: the strong versus the weak.  It's always the same.  The powerful always win, and the weak always come back to be victims all over again." He laughed.

(from The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt, copyright 2005, Penguin Press, New York City)

Feel free to comment, but I leave you with a couple of questions.

Have you ever seen tiny black birds harassing a hawk who was near their nest? 

I wonder how many times that pigeon was among the fleeing group who were just satisfied that they weren't the victim...on that day anyway?

What if pigeons behaved more like little black birds?




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June 14, 2012   01:02 AM PDT
Safety from the seagull is an illusion. If you're the pigeon it chooses, then you've only prolonged your own life of fear by scattering. Going along to get along is in fact not possible.
June 13, 2012   09:51 PM PDT
Wow. Great analogy. It takes a group of brave black birds/pigeons to take on the predator. And when food and shelter is a commodity and easy to lose, those birds are willing to scatter when the predator comes, afraid to lose their nest and bread crumbs.

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