A Cacophony of Jays
While walking my dog this morning at Nira Rock I was struck by a cacophony of
noise coming from a stand of trees on the north end of the upper meadow. Closer investigation
revealed several blue jays circling and protesting a red tailed hawk, who was jumping ever
closer to a branch on some sort of coniferous tree (one of the few at Nira).
It seemed too late in the season for fledglings, and yet the hawk was obviously
intent on something, and the vociferous jays seemed equally intent on driving it away. The hawk
looked a little clumsy hopping its weight around in close quarters, and the jays looked fierce
but perhaps not up to the match. This spring, I had watched with pleasure as a pair of jays
built a nest adjacent to Nira Rock, then brooded (?) their eggs, then fed three young
hatchlings, only to see the entire hatch destroyed by a marauding crow. So my heart was
pre-disposed towards these loud and plucky birds, as exciting and breathtaking as a hawk may be.
I picked up a rock, and stood there uncertainly. Might my trying to drive away the
hawk backfire, might the jays leave instead? What if I actually *hit* something? (The odds of
this being raised significantly by the very fact that I was trying NOT to). Still, I pitched the
rock. Two of the eight or so birds flew away. One blue jay, and one slowly and majestically
flapping red tail hawk.
On Moving Out of the Neighborhood
I took Doah and my daughter Alana for a walk yesterday at about 2pm with a totally
clear blue sky, starting off tromping through beautiful snow in the upper meadow of Nira. I
can't quite capture my feelings in writing, but suffice it to say that Nira has been a huge part
of my experience in JP, and it has surely helped shape Alana. I can only hope that some of her
earliest and best memories come from our adventures up there – from discovering flowers
popping up in "snow bubbles," as she called them yesterday, to picking off icicles
from the rock face near Christine's house, to outdoor movies, to reading on the rock with her
friends before school, to playing hide and seek with Doah and me in the lower meadow, to eating
handfuls of raspberries and staining her face red for a week, to....
One thing above all struck me yesterday as I looked at the rock face from
Jefferson Park and the sun blazed in my eyes just above the upper meadow: Nira used to be a
blight which people in the neighborhood were scared of, and now I was gazing at it with sadness
and bittersweet memories of early parenthood and my own private meanderings in nature that have
sustained me in challenging times, right here in the heart of the city.