12 November 2009

Crowing About the Carthage Neighborhood

As dusk was dropping on a mid-November evening, a big bunch of expressive crows decided to drop by the Carthage neighborhood on the western slopes of the covered hills of midtown Omaha.

Their coming and crowing was loudly expressive and enough to rouse the attention of an attentive, and resident birdwatcher, that heard their boisterous proclamations through a window open to the fine air of a late-season Indian summer.

After repeated crow noise, this bird aficionado finally went outside to take a look. There were numbers of the crows perched atop some large, barren autumn trees along the street. Some were cawing two houses to the north, wth others cattycorner - it was a larger congregation - across the street, with a bunch more in the backyard of a house on the block to the east. It was an autumn cacophony of dynamic, crowian expression.

With the birds flying to and fro - expressive or otherwise in their own individual manner - it took some time to figure how many there were. They needed to be counted - once and again - to record this particular occurrence for the neighborhood bird list.

Some of the big black birds flew from one tree to the next, which meant an accurate depiction was not a one count and be done, simple task. It was no look, point and go away, but rather a notation of one place - in this instance a particular treetop - then the others. Repeated, as necessary.

After about three efforts, an approximate number was realized. It was a good thing, because the focus for this time outdoors took a dramatic shift.

While my attention was on the skies, Becky, the housewife across north 49th Street, asked for help to replace the fallen cover for the streetlamp. It was lying on the ground, having fallen off its historic pedestal the day before - perhaps due to some visiting workers - and the light was uncovered. The light was certainly was certainly looking stark, and obviously needed some attention.

Based on the situation, the primary need was a ladder. Neither of us had one, so we went right down to the end of the block, and rang the door-bell to ask Tim. He was right with us, not hesitating a moment, bringing out an extension ladder, and while Becky went back to check on her kids, us two men continued with the necessary task. Upon reaching the barren street light, Tim was correct in noticing that the ladder we had was too much, so he went right back for a shorter step-ladder.

Becky was right back into the effort, and just as soon her next-door neighbor was on their porch offering his ladder. We mentioned a ladder was on the way, but he did not go away.

When the lesser ladder arrived, Tim climbed right up the steps of the ladder to check out the situation while my job was to hold the plastic globe. Nearly everyone commented about how it was plastic and not glass. This was a good thing because otherwise it would have broken when it fell from its proper, elevated place.

Getting the thing where it belonged took some focused time since the task was not going to be done using fingers to adjust the screws. No sooner did we need a tool than there was one offered from the house right there, with a hefty pliers suited to the task provided from the house-man. He gave us the tool and remained, holding his tiny infant wrapped in swaddling covers.

Tim turned the screws outward to make it easier to set the globe into place - my task of holding the globe took place at least three times while Tim worked the three place-screws - noting how they seemed to be situated in a manner where the plastic cover could have easily fallen away.

Perhaps it was not the tree trimmers, which was the original prognostication. Whatever, the cause at this time on the next day, did not matter in any manner. The goal was to get the light looking right.

While the five of us were giving attention to maintenance of the street lamp, an errant dog ran south along the sidewalk, towards Cuming Street. We all knew it was not supposed to be on the loose, so called to get its attention to hopefully prevent it from going far away. It was not supposed to be on the loose.

Annie. Annie, come here. In a short minute, the owner was out asking about their new pet, and we all pointed to the end of the block to where it rambling. Annie, the lady expressed to get the dog's attention. In another short minute or two, the pooch was held by the collar and being taken back to its own yard.

While we neighbors were working, another neighbor came home, parked his car at the curb, with his first steps across the street to inquire about the activities of a the obvious bunch of people. He didn't do anything really useful but talk with a neighbor, which, nonetheless, was an expression of neighborly interest and implied support.

Meanwhile, Tim - atop the ladder - continued working the screws, and got the lamp cover back into its proper place, and tightened everything down so the thing would be well set in its proper place for any pending winds of winter, which will certainly be arriving soon.

Once done, he carried one ladder, and my muscles hefted the other and both aids were returned to their proper place along side of the garage, among the leaves of autumn.

With the work done, the light did glow in its righteous way, not glare in the manner which was when the bulb was uncovered.

The crows had already gone, their proclamations forgotten. The interlude they created is a rememberance of exquisite expression of living in a neighborhood.

By the way, there were nearly 100 crows, and if they would like to visit again, they would be welcome any time! How does someone express their personal gratitude for what some birds created in Carthage on November 11, 2009.

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