Living With the Past
The sewage treatment plant in Moscow is across the highway from the Mall, just below the University’s cattle pens. Around it, in the early spring and late fall flock dark birds. Someone told me they are starlings. I think they come early and stay late for the flies and heat the ponds generate: the smell of cattle and toilets from the Mall.
Thousands of birds sitting along telephone lines, chattering about the rotary arms. They are kicked up by noise and motion into black beach balls quivering in the sky . . . weather balloons with minds of their own.
The new theory is that dinosaurs aren’t extinct; they evolved into birds. Putting their young into shells, they had nothing to hold them; they gave the ground to fossils. And we gave them vacation resorts, to extent the ancient seasons.
first published in Living With a Stranger: self portrait, 1993.