Pigeons and pigeons and pigeons

Pigeons and pigeons and pigeons

A flutter of flapping wings taking flight.

Yesterday, with about twenty minutes or so to kill before work, I took a few moments at the little park area in Sandvika to watch and take pictures of the birds by the river. A mother and her five or six year old son (of Middle East origin) stopped by also to feed the birds. Sparrows, seagulls and ducks were quickly outnumbered at least twenty to one by pigeons.

The little boy was throwing bits of bread at the birds, but stopped for a moment and pointed and asked me what kind of bird that was. “That’s a pigeon,” I said. Then he pointed to another pigeon of somewhat different colouring and asked what that was. “That’s also a pigeon,” was my answer. He pointed and asked several times, because there were many pigeons of different shadings and patterns, some grey and dull, some white with black spots, or black with white spots, and some with breast feathers glowing and shimmering like oil slicks on water in bright sunlight. “They’re all pigeons,” I said after a few more turns. “They just come in many different colours, like people”.

“Oh,” he said. “You mean like you and me?”
“Yes, exactly like you and me,” I replied. “Exactly like you and me and everyone else in the world.”
“Oh,” he said again, and appeared to stop to think about this for a moment.

“That’s right,” said the mother, who was smiling, her accent rather heavy and apparently struggling with the language. “Listen to what the man says. Just like you and me and him and everybody else. All people, just different colours.”

The boy looked at her, then back at me, then smiled brightly and resumed throwing bits of bread, but more gently now, like he was throwing the bits to the birds rather than at them.

It may have been a very small thing in the grander scheme of things, but I felt rather good about this little exchange when I left.


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