Friday, June 26, 2020

Wildness Outside my Window

It's almost four months since the lockdown following the spread of Covid 19 and there's a bit of things that happened since.  I got a taste of onboarding with an online reviews company but had to part ways a month and a half into my probation.  While I was happy to have found an employer in the midst of the pandemic, I was aghast to find out it was a scam-style operations with paid/sponsored software interviews and the open sanctioning of image theft without any attribution.  Also, in the course of my research, I found out that the site/s and mother company have been a subject of investigative reporting by US TV network, CBS News, many years ago for fakery.  Oh well.  It was pure drudgery working for fake reviews and having to "steal" images against my wishes (and my inclinations as a photographer myself). Not to mention, fulfilling 1500-2000 word articles that my editor requires as if plucking insights from nowhere (we have a Filipino word for it, "salsal" which means mental masturbation, if you will excuse the language).
Before that, another online employer didn't pay me for services rendered prior to my seeking permission to leave.  I may have spent almost a decade working online but I still see a lot of hanky panky going on.  Sigh.  With regards to the social amelioration program, my application for a Makati SAP went nowhere when the online site rejected my application because Globe didn't send me an SMS message of acknowledgment.  Trying again and again didn't work so there goes my chances of any ayuda.  Things that really make you go hmmm.
From Penguin House site

Anyway, one of the things that have kept me going is watching the sparrows visit my window everyday, without fail.  Even when the rains came, they would just take a reprieve during the squalls but come back like clockwork.  I have been rereading my books during this period of quarantine, and right now, I'm rereading this wonderful book by Michael Pollan entitled "The Botany of Desire".  It says that we often think that wildness is out there in the boondocks, the woods, and the forests, so much so that we miss seeing what's right before our eyes.

I know some birders would dismiss Eurasian Tree Sparrows as commonplace and not really wild but I wholeheartedly disagree.  These birds are wild; they just learned how to co-exist with us in the cities.  They are hardy survivors who have the smarts to live side-by-side with us city folks. My window becomes literally a window into their world.  A first batch of a dozen or so noisy birds visit the feeder at first light (around 5:20-5:15am in the summer solstice); then a successive wave would come, not just to feed, but to sing and preen, preen while singing, some I even caught napping.  It feels good to know that they find it safe to make my small window garden a regular pit stop. 

Butterfly Pea plant

If I may probe further, it's a wonder how the birds remember which window to visit among the hundreds of other windows in the building.  Considering the fact that I've been feeding the birds for the last five years or so, these may be another generation of birds altogether -- something that makes me think that the theory of collective memory may be at work here (the memory of feeding stations/places embedded in the genes of the parent birds and passed on the next generations).  I consider sparrows as fascinating birds; commonplace, yes, but banal, no.  Where do they nest at night? How far do they range for food?  I mean these are birds literally hiding in plain sight because I guess nobody really knows the answers to the questions above.

Speaking of the garden, I've added a butterfly pea plant (clitoria ternatea) to replace the avocado seedling that the birds pecked down to the branches about 3-4 months ago.  Hopefully, they would spare the plant so I can have some flowers I can use for making tea and medicinal concoctions.  The chicken wire enclosure is no guarantee they wouldn't touch it but the plant has been sprouting new leaves and tendrils so hope springs eternal. I'm also trying to germinate broccoli seeds for sprouts in the next few days so as to preoccupy my mind in between job hunting, reading, meditating, and daily exercise.


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