Prosecards from the Edge (of a Continent)

A running commentary on my life in Izmir, Turkey...and other thoughts.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

It's a bird...It's cotton candy...It's a Pogo Stick...No, it's a Bird

Just two days after the Great Snow, the air is crisp, clear and blindingly sunny. A strong wind from the west puts on boxing gloves and pummels me in the face as I go for my morning walk. All the usual sights are in place...the mysterious gray-blue line of the mountains on the far side of the bay, the "Mussel Men" who shiver in waist-deep water and scrape hapless shellfish from the rocks, the sprawling sun-drugged street dogs, the gossiping seagulls, the head-scarved, shalwar-wearing women incongruously doing sit-ups.

But today something is different: Izmir has visitors. They are long-legged and sunrise pink, love seafood, and are fond of eating upside down. They are flamingos, blown in from who-knows-what colder clime. They must be passing through, for I have seen them only once before. Odd: first snow, then flamingos -- two objects which make me think of opposite ends of the temperature spectrum. The birds are fascinating to watch, with their short curved beaks like tiny scimitars and their long flexible necks which curl over to allow the birds to eat upside down. I am enthralled, as are the seagulls, who form a protective flotilla around the giant visitors. As on so many other occasions, I wish that I had brought my camera. As I pause on this thought, the birds suddenly move together, as if on cue. They begin an awkward kind of scramble out of the water. Wings extend. Gorgeous, enormous black-edged fuschia wings. Ridiculous walking-stick legs emerge from the water, dangling clumsily, scrabbling at the water. The awkwardness lasts only a moment or two, and then the flamingos are in full flight. Necks stretched out in front, long black legs behind, they resemble nothing less than a pogo stick encircled by a protective wad of cotton candy. Moments later, they have disappeared.


At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Mum said...

No photos???? I wanna see a flamingo in the snow!


Post a Comment

<< Home