Sunday in the Park
May 8, 2009
Data. Say it, out loud, right now. How did it sound? Like dat-uh? Or dey-tuh?
Silly little word, encompassing so much. Can be used in the singular or plural. And this week during a visioning session with really smart consultants hired by really smart folks from City Hall, the word was used over and over with both variations and pronunciation and even a few others I can’t quite write the tone of, but they have a bit of y’all thrown in. (The visioning session was a great example of taking the temperature of who we are, and want to be and what we hold dear and what we want to stay clear of. Go to their Facebook page or The City’s new web page and you can add your comments and join in.)
A few of us went out afterward and had that Cinco de Mayo/ traditional Park City drink and ate pizza after 10p.m. That might explain a bit of the following but I don’t think so. There were no anchovies involved.
I went to sleep mulling over the pronunciation of the word and realized I was inconsistent with how I pronounced it, depending upon the prevailing sound in the room. I lean towards dey-tuh, I do. And this is how an anxious mind obsesses when it is trying to quiet down and get ready to sleep. So I slept, not soundly. I dreamt a lot. Though I can’t tell you about what, I just kept waking up thinking that was strange and then I went back to sleep.
When the morning light crept into my room there was no more sleeping. I was awake and I was out of sorts. Snappish. Peevish. More than garden variety, cranky. I remember thinking to pay attention so I didn’t bite somebody’s head off today. Out on the front porch in my fluffy lavender robe, I surveyed all I could see. The dewy day, the chatter/flutter of the birds and off in the corner of my vision, I saw white fluffy things on the lawn. Maybe, they are dandelions puffs, I remember thinking but it seems too early for those. And they were whitish but also grayish, like feathers. And they were, exactly that, feathers. So I followed the trail of feathers across the grass to the stone pathway not a foot in front of my feet. There was the carcass of a bird. Not a little pine siskin, or a sparrow or finch or a wren. The next size bird, say a fat robin or an adolescent magpie or oh my, a mourning dove. I bent over the bird body to see if it had hit the window (not remembering I already was led here by a trail of feathers) and I saw the tiny upturned bird claws and the soft body and then in the place where there should have been a head, no head. And strangely, no blood. Clean away. There was no trace of that body part in the immediate yard and I can’t tell you how much that headless dove saddened me and stopped me cold.
Not everyone likes the dove’s plaintive cooing. Or think of them as turtledoves, all lovey, well, dovey. I’m certain there must be a paint chip called Dove Gray, that soft pale color of the body and the feathers. They are calming to me. And I feel a peacefulness when they are about in the yard. I know, you could go down the spiritual path and talk about the dove of peace and symbol of the Holy Ghost or you could just think of someone who doesn’t like war. Doves are gentle creatures and this was a violent, unexplained ending. Cats, as a rule, aren’t beheaders. Sure, you may have a story about a mouse or a lizard left at your doorstep with an appendage missing but by and large, especially with birds, they tend to be the full course meal, except for those ticklish feathers. A dog, perhaps. Shaking the bird, like a toy and oops, the head just snapped? I don’t know. I found some plastic and picked up the bird and put him/her in the garbage (it being garbage day and all) and I said a little prayer of peace. It seemed only fitting.
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All day long that bird flew around in my head.
There are holes along the front of my porch not much bigger than a golf ball in circumference. At first, there were a pair of them and now, maybe a dozen in the flower beds, too. I might have a mole or a vole or a weasel or a potgut with not much pot yet over his gut. Are they all bird-ivores? I have no earthly idea.
I just know the next time I think about the possibility of’ wanting to bite somebody’s head off’ as an expression of speech, I’m not gonna say it out loud. Not matter where you put the emphasis or the long or short a sounds, the
visual is just too creepy.
Rest in peace, little lovey dovey. On this day and especially on Sunday, in the Park
Teri Orr is the director of the Park City Performing Arts Foundation that provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts and the Big Stars Bright Nights Summer Concert Series at Deer Valley. She is also a former editor of The Park Record.