Hatching and Nesting

The Cicadas are here, at least they were everywhere in the Hudson Valley this weekend.  Every tree limb was lined with them, husks crunching underfoot and the electric buzz of winged procreation that never stopped.  It was searingly hot, and I was thinking about the heat and time it took for all of these creatures to burst from the ground after seventeen years of gestation.  Where were each of us seventeen years ago? Where will we be seventeen years from now?  Will we be here at all?  I know that I've been through more than one transformation in the last seventeen years.  Apparently when the cicadas are larvae their wings are still liquid.  A friend said this weekend, "that's like me, my wings are still liquid."  I knew what she meant.  I also thought a lot about slowing down. The heat slows you down, and when you think of waiting seventeen years for the next phase of metamorphosis, that slows you down.  Stop and think about where you were seventeen years ago . . . that can slow you down for a minute.   I saw another unusual nest last week outside the window of an apartment in Chinatown.  This is the home of the lovely Silvia, who lives in an apartment painted all white, goes on tour with her boyfriend's band, and when she is home in New York she works as a hair stylist.  You only find out about Silvia from other people who know about Silvia, and her building feels like old New York, which I guess that means the Seventies to me.  A three story building where everyone knows each other, and the neighborhood is revealed though the lettering of the signs you pass:  Chinese, Hebrew, Hipster Design (is that a language? I think it is).  When you climb to the third floor, past the Paper Bag Players rehearsal space on the ground floor, you reach the landing outside Silvia's apartment, where you remove your shoes and are offered tea or water. Last spring, Silvia noticed that a pigeon or Rock Dove, as they are officially called, made a nest and hatched babies in the metal frame outside her window that is built to hold an air conditioner (you don't see these much anymore--nowadays we shove the AC out there with a few bricks underneath it and hope it won't crash to the sidewalk below--why don't more air conditioners fall out of windows at that terrifying moment when your super or your boyfriend, or you and your roommate are balancing it on the ledge before you close the window down to hold it?  Better not think too much about that). This year, Silvia wove branches above and below into the metal frame, and put in a bird bath by filling a ceramic window box with water. The dove came back, and was now sitting on its second round of eggs. Silvia says the mother and father take turns sitting, and they never leave the eggs alone, though they don't seem disturbed by various humans leaning in for closer look (these are city birds after all).  I am writing this from the reading room at the great New York Public Library, with the rain beating against the arched windows and a painted mural of blue sky and clouds framed by gold gilt on the ceiling.  An image of nature framed by an ornate example of humanity. This room is filled with people gestating, hatching, transforming their thinking in seventeen seconds, seventeen minutes, seventeen years.  

Cicada
nesting dove



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