Shared Stories: My Neighborhood

Kay Halsey is one of our “senior” writers. Her avid interest and joy in the world around her is a reminder for how to live life to the fullest. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for his free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns.

By Kay Halsey

My neighborhood has many inhabitants that people ignore in their fast and busy lives – the birds. Some of the birds fly through seasonally on their way back and forth to a better place. Others are permanent residents. Their voices are heard from early sunrise to sunset.

Often on awakening in the early mornings, I hear chirp, chirp, chirp, a cheerful call to all who hear it.  I see these birds darting from trees to wires to poles.

One neighbor’s daughter had a pair of doves. She loved their cooing and watched over them lovingly until her father suggested that he wanted to get rid of them. She let them go, but they are still around. This neighborhood is their home. 

The smallest of the birds is the humming bird. Its wings are constantly moving. Its sharp beak dips into flowers for nectar. I watched one of these birds pecking at a bird feeder in a tree as if trying to get into it. Sometimes they rest in bushes or trees with heavy foliage.

Sparrows are present all year long, chirping and darting everywhere. One day I was watching them drinking water from a leaking hose. What joy they had in this time of drought, drinking.  

Another day it was raining and I noticed a bird taking a shower. It spread its wings to receive a soft water rain shower, and shook them, folded them, and then spread its wings out again for another cleansing.

There are larger birds also. A hawk high on a telephone pole scans the neighborhood for a rat or a bird so he can swoop down and capture it with his talons and fly away.

In stormy weather the seagulls fly in and space themselves in linear formation on school grounds. Each gull in its own place, protected by the fence. They disappear when the storms at sea quiet down.

Crows are unwelcome, large black birds that invade the neighborhoods in flocks. Their Caw, Caw, Caw sends smaller birds into hiding.

Richard Rohr writes, “Nature is one song of praise that never stops singing.” Taking time to see and hear our feathered neighbors is a reminder that our world’s creation is perfect and here for us to see and enjoy.