Nothing much stands out in this dreary landscape. Even the pigeons, with their feathers of dusty silver, blend into a gray undefined mass of metal and concrete. I like to sit by these stairs sometimes, watch as the rubbing of the footsteps of morning commuters wear down the cement steps to a dull block. I like to watch as people walk by, bleary-eyed and lugging their suitcase and infallible morning coffee, indifferent to the chaos around them.
It never stops. Every day, I watch them traveling up and down, and up, and down, the stairs monotonously wearing down millimeter-by-millimeter with every dozen steps rubbed upon its dilapidated surface; every day, thousands of them walking along the dim corridors as the birds sing and the clouds sail and the leaves wave their greetings and goodbyes, the ancient mother of the land humming in the background, ignored.
And there I sit, with the land.
It’s chilly today. Crystals of frost spring up every time my sole brushes the grass.
A Cooper's Hawk lands in the middle of the parking lot to quench its thirst. A creek of soapy water flows through dust and tar to end its journey in a broken drain.
A halt. A honk. The sound of unhurried wing flaps as the hawk flees from an impatient driver. Silence.
The lightposts are a battleground. A troop of cackling grackles raises ruckus, followed by an angry troupe of crows mobbing a raven. The crows give up after the raven proves to be unbudgeable. I note a similar scuffle went on here between a few passerby just yesterday, in the street.
People prod their phones as I methodically label the types of grackle calls and tally down the order and number of each type of call. My homework is now a scribble of the grand Great-tailed Grackle orchestra. It’s okay, my teachers are used to it.
It may be a metropolis built for man here, but the birds sure don't think so. After decades of combat with urbanization, they have adapted. Now they arrive in droves.
A thousand different people pass every day,a thousand different personalities, schemes of glamour-filled futures and money-tainted lifestyles bright and idyllic in their eyes. Some of them give in. Give in to everything life is life is stereotyped to be infamous for. Stress. Hard drugs. Alcohol. Relationships. But I can never give in. It’s the birds. The birds are always there, comforting me, reminding me of a Garden of Eden I can enter with a simple closing of my eyes.
And even in a city that never sleeps, I look upwards, for I know that if I look high enough, peregrines and pigeons are soaring after the drifting clouds, and for a second I am immersed in a paradise of just me and the birds.