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A Blue Jay Goes To Sleep Outside My Window

a_proud_blue_jay

In the dusk, a blue jay has gone hop … hop … hop, from one branch of the fir tree to another, right up to my window. And he has perched there, looking in for the past four minutes. I whisper “hello”

The blue jay has been there twenty-five minutes. I thought it might have gone to sleep, but it just shifted, and then pecked at some tree needles. I doubt I have ever seen a sleeping bird.

Two crows just flew over, making their crow sounds. Woke up the blue jay, who paid attention. But then, as far as I can tell, the blue jay went back to sleep.

A window is a quarter open, a fan is on, and I’m watching NCIS (with the sound lower than usual). Yet the blue jay seems to sleep on. I might not be able to see it when it becomes totally dark.

Well, it is now too dark to see the blue jay asleep on the branch – just the barest silhouette. I’m guessing the blue jay will be gone before I awake. But I’ll look.

These were my twitter feeds until half past midnight, when I went to bed. I turned off the lights, and would not turn them on again in case the change would wake up the blue jay. The following were scrawled in the dark, except for the street light coming in the window. The time checks are from the alarm clock.

12:30 There is now some rain, though not heavy. The blue jay sleeps on.

 4:45  The blue jay is still asleep. The wind is strong enough to make the branch sway.

5:15  There are some distant bird calls, which are answered within five minutes. The blue jay sleeps.

5:25 There is some pre-sunrise light from the east. It is green. There are now a number of birds chirping in the distance. No movement from the blue jay.

5:50 There is enough light from the windows to read my hand-writing. The blue jay is gone. It slept the night one meter (three feet) from my window.
(image)4.bp.blogspot.com/-hBaC-comxFA/UCEpdJmcg4I/AAAAAAAAA64/pyW3DTw-aLM/s1600/A_Proud_Blue_Jay.jpg

Travel But No Sex On The Night Train Of Years Ago

women-in-pullman-section-berths-january-1930-hulton-archive-getty-images_600px

The night train goes between Halifax and Montreal, and Montreal and Halifax. You can’t get there from here in daylight . . . by train. The train chug chug chugs out of Halifax early afternoon, and out of Montreal early evening. The two pass somewhere in Quebec. Arrival in Montreal is early morning (breakfast time) and early evening (supper time).

Although I’ve had some association with trains for decades (the father of a next-door childhood friend was even the conductor on a train) I came to my pleasure and interest in trains from my first trip to Europe. Both in Great Britain, and the continent, I had great pleasure on the trains (much due to the scenery I had never seen). It was really after that first trip that I travelled with any seriousness by train in Canada. And, as I said, any travel from east to west must include the night train to Montreal.

I have been blessed in that I have never had to ‘sit up’ on this trip (though, these days, even that is not too bad). I’ve had berths (upper and lower) and compartments (these days – again – even with their own shower). And I love the dome cars, sitting there for hours even after dark. It is a grand sensation travelling though the darkened forests with often no more than moon light and stars. And the red and green signal lights of the track itself.

Back ‘in the day’ I even almost had a Night train romance.

This was in the upper berths, where nothing more than a curtain flap and a zipper kept the sleepers private. One usually undressed while supine upon the mattress, sloughing off one’s outer clothes.

On one particular journey to Montreal, in the dark of that Quebec landscape, across the narrow aisle, was a beautiful teen-aged gal, not many years younger than myself. And she indicated ‘interest’, with smiles and giggles and some gentle teasing of undress.

However, she travelled with her (I presume) parents, safely ensconced in the lower berths. And Daddy looked as if he:

a) would brook no nonsense

and (more to the point)

b) would cease and desist any interest by me

The sweet lass keep appearing from behind her curtain with smiles and gestures, but finally realized that an athletic leap from my side to hers was neither safe nor wise. We arrived in Montreal as pure as we set out.

*Sigh*

(image)http://www.museumoftheamericanrailroad.org/Portals/0/Gallery/Album/21/Women-in-Pullman-Section-Berths-January-1930-Hulton-Archive-Getty-Images_600px.jpg

The Dream On The Night Train

11458140-railroad-track-switch-stock-photo-railway-tracks-train

The troubled night carries too many warnings of mortality to be ignored.

There are horses kept unfed in refrigerators, clambering to get free.

Some will be found emaciated.

Punishment will be meted in an ingenious and terrifying manner.

Flowers will turn to doorknobs.

Stooping to smell will reveal the pungent scent of fingerprints.

Dreams to befuddle Satan.

Fears not be wished upon a hated enemy.

The steps are steep.

The rooms without walls.

Pictures hang and grin with howling mouths.

What would be the fruit of seed tilled in these fields?

If that hunted figure, racing so slowly after the final train, is you,

Whose eyes watch the train?

DE

(image)http://previews.123rf.com/images/jerryb7/jerryb71111/jerryb7111100134/11458140-Railroad-Track-Switch-Stock-Photo-railway-tracks-train.jpg

Church And Hymns And The Call To God On A Sunday Night

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(image) http://catalogue.novascotia.com/ManagedMedia/7999.JPG

An evening church service is a favourite of mine – even as a child. However, it has fallen out of favour and is no longer regularly offered.

Trusty Google helped me find one last Sunday. Not only an Evensong, but a Choral Evensong. And not only choral, but it was dedicated as a Remembrance Evensong. I was coming in, out of the cold, in style.

It was held in St. George’s Church – also know as the Round Church for its shape. www.roundchurch.ca

I had been in the church as a tourist, but not for years. A 5pm service in November got me there at dusk. It is a large church, complete with upper balconies. It is close in proximity to the Halifax naval yard, and I wondered if there would be some military presence. As it was, an officer in uniform read a lesson, while a military chaplain gave the sermon.

Not having been to an Evensong for decades, I don’t know if it was a large or small congregation. My guess is there were thirty or so people present, plus 10 in the choir, plus 2 ministers, 1 verger and the organist/choir director.

I would say that Evensong is a modified Morning service, perhaps more fitting for the time of day. In addition to a choral choir singing selections on their own, there were hymns that are favourites of mine. “Oh God, Our Help In Ages Past”  “Abide With Me” and three (3) stanzas of “God Save The Queen”. How close to heaven can one monarchist get?

As an added surprise (which would have made my father ecstatic) it was a High Church Anglican church, and even had incense. Perhaps that explained the choral choir.

At the end, after the procession had left, the large and booming organ belted out a selection by César Franck – Pièce Héroïque“. Members of the choir returned and sat in pews to listen.

When it was completed and people started to leave, I had a tiny ageist and sexist lapse. Two little, white-haired ladies got out of their pew to leave. Walking slowly before me, they talked of the music. I thought they were going to complain about the (admittedly) lengthy organ recital.

“Oh, that music,” said one.

“Yes,” said the other, nodding.

“It’s one of my favourite pieces.”

“I know what you mean.”

DE

Cops In The Hall / Blood On The Door

2011-chevrolet-caprice-police-car_100230107_m

 

I was watching the News on television. It was about 10:15 in the evening. It had been a tiring day and I was not too far from bed. A knock came to my door. An insistent knock.

I’m in an access-controlled building and assume a knock on the door is from someone living here. So I opened the door without hesitation. It was the fellow who lives in the apartment next. He was pointing at my door and he asked if I was all right. He was obviously agitated.

I looked at my door. There was a smear of blood on it. He then pointed at the floor. Drops of blood trickled to my door. Then he pointed to the outside entrance, on the other side of the locked door. There were gouts of blood on the carpet and smears of blood on the glass.

“You OK?”

I assured him none of the blood was mine. We looked along to the other end of the corridor. People in their night clothes were milling around. We went to join them.

An couple were standing in front of the open door to their apartment. I could hear shouting and thumping and what sounded like someone kicking the wall. It was not happening in their apartment, but from the one above them. They said they had heard this type of thing on any number of nights. Then a yell turned into a scream.

So, the police were called.

The commotion upstairs, with few lulls, continued on for the five minutes it took the police to arrive. One officer joined us, heard the noise and yelling, and decided to await another police car. This did not take long, and shortly they both went up. The noise subsided. I returned to my News.

A few minutes later there were more emergency lights outside on the street. An ambulance. Assuming haste was important, I went and opened the front door for them. They asked where the apartment was. I told them. As they passed the elevator they asked if it worked. I said that it did, but it was really quicker to take the stairs. One of the EMS responders said that they understood, but they needed to know if they could use the elevator if they had to take someone out on a stretcher. I assured them it worked.

Over the next half hour four additional police officers arrived. From a number of conversations, I learned there had been four people in the noisy apartment. Somehow one of them had sustained a bad hand or arm cut. That person was taken in the ambulance but I did not see this. A young man in T shirt and jeans was taken past my door in handcuffs. He complained that his boots were not tied. An officer obliged him by bending over to tie his laces.

I was interviewed by a burly police sergeant. I knew nothing of the occupants of the apartment, and did not known they had been causing noise for the previous weeks. However, I did realize I had heard a commotion in the Entrance before the News. There had been muffled voices, and the sound of the wall being thumped. Unusual but nothing to cause alarm. It appears that the wounded person had either been injured in the entrance way, or his friends had been trying to get him to go to a hospital but he refused. That is where the blood came from.

I was told two days later that the tenants of the apartment where the altercation occurred were evicted.

None of this made the News.

DE

Romance To Be Found On The Night Train

(image)

I http://northamericabyrail.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/0662-UPPER-LOWER-BERTHS-SET-UP-FOR-NIGHT-USE-IN-CANADIAN-NATIONAL-SLEEPING-CAR-ST.-HYACINTHE-ON-DISPLAY-AT-THE-RAILROAD-MUSEUM-OF-CALIFORNIA-1024×667.jpg

The night train goes between Halifax and Montreal, and Montreal and Halifax. You can’t get there from here in daylight . . . by train. The train chug chug chugs out of Halifax early afternoon, and out of Montreal early evening. The two pass somewhere in Quebec. Arrival in Montreal is early morning (breakfast time) and in Halifax early evening (supper time).

Although I’ve had some association with trains for decades (the father of a next-door childhood friend was even the conductor on a train) I came to my pleasure and interest in trains from my first trip to Europe. Both in Great Britain and the continent I had great times on the trains (much due to the scenery I had never seen). It was really after that first trip that I travelled with any seriousness by train in Canada. And, as I said, any travel from east to west must include the night train to Montreal.

I have been blessed in that I have never had to ‘sit up’ on this trip (though, these days, even that is not too bad). I’ve had berths (upper and lower) and compartments (these days – again – even with their own shower). And I love the dome cars, sitting for hours even after dark. It is a grand sensation travelling though the darkened forests, with often no more than moon light and stars. And the red and green signal lights of the track itself.

Back ‘in the day’ I even almost had a Night train romance. This was in the upper berths, where nothing more than a curtain flap and a zipper kept the sleepers private. One usually undressed while supine upon the mattress, sloughing off one’s outer clothes. On one particular journey to Montreal, in the dark of that Quebec landscape, across the narrow aisle was a beautiful teen-aged gal, not many years younger than myself. And she indicated ‘interest’, with smiles and giggles and some gentle teasing of undress. However, she travelled with her (I presume) parents, safely ensconced in the lower berths. And Daddy looked as if he a) would brook no nonsense and – more to the point – b) could take care of three of me.  The sweet lass keep appearing from behind her curtain with smiles and gestures, but finally realized that an athletic leap from my side to hers was neither safe nor wise. We arrived in Montreal as pure as we set out.

*Sigh* & Alas

DE

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