day 63: from far below
Yesterday I spent some time walking around after my driving lesson taking pictures. I went back to my previous practice of exploring backyards and encountered two very photogenic crows which even stayed on the spot through me changing lenses. The lighting conditions were difficult with the quite harsh light from above and the deep shade in the backyard. Although I now have some reasonably good pictures of these two fellas the photos seemed to have something lacking. I can’t quite figure out what is missing, but in the end they are just … pictures of crows, if you know what I mean.
Further down the street right in front of the prison here in Moabit there were some bushes with sparrows sitting in them. They were all ruffled in the cold air and looked a bit grumpy. I also took some pictures of them sitting there. And it suddenly reminded me of one of those nights when I was walking back home through the city park after a night out in my hometown. It was about 1 1/2 hours walk, but I sometimes preferred it to waiting for a tram in the cold. Sometimes I also just wanted to think.
One night there were clouds in the sky and I remember that there was more light than usually. It was probably late autumn, because there were hardly any leaves on the trees which I didn’t pay much attention to at first. I was just walking, looking at the ground, thinking, almost not paying attention to where I was going. At least half an hour of the way is just walking straight ahead and in the dark you don’t see too much apart from the looming dark trees. The path was illuminated by orange street light and the sky was not quite black, maybe it had a dark blue colour, although it was still far from dawn. And maybe it also just seemed this way because the sky wasn’t obscured by the trees like in summer.
At some point I found that there was something odd about how things looked. As if a particular stretch of the way seemed darker than others and I kept wondering what the difference was. I largely ignored it though and just carried on walking. Until I heard a very strange sound. It took me a moment to realise that it was just a bird flapping its wings. What was strange about it was that the sound was not continuous like it is when you hear a bird flying away. No, it seemed as if the bird was just stretching its wings, flapping them once and then there was nothing. And that was the first moment that night when I consciously looked up at the tree tops. The sight made me stop with a probably quite audible gasp. The tree tops were black against the sky, like very long alien fingers with very thick black knuckles. And way too many of those knuckles too. For a moment I wasn’t sure what I was seeing, but then I heard another flap, then another and suddenly the alien knuckles turned into wings flying up into the sky. The air filled with excessive crowing and for a moment the sky seemed black with birds.
It was one of these cinematic moments, where you’re waiting for the birds to come down at you nosediving and trying to hack your eyes out. Or did you ever stand right behind your front door on the way out and you suddenly hear a thud and crash which makes you wonder whether you should check the TV before leaving? You know, for signs of a zombie apocalypse?
Obviously the birds didn’t attack me and the zombies didn’t come crashing through my door. They never do. Still, boys and girls: If you ever hear a strange noise coming from your basement. Don’t go down there and check what it was … that’s just plain predictable and stupid!