For the last three days I’ve been staying at my parent’s home. It always feels a little weird to be in the house alone. The ghosts are a benign presence, more silent guardians than intrusive interlopers. The traffic roars up the road outside in an incessant rumble (dare I day 24/7…) The sounds of neighbours arguing, loving, living become white noise in the night.
But as the sun rises the magpies start to sing. The bedroom I’m in was my older brother’s when the three of us still lived at home. It’s near the back garden, though I use that term loosely. For years my parents fed the magpies, giving the young ones a helping hand on the road to adulthood. They’ve been rewarded with subsequent generations bringing their offspring for take-aways. The old mango tree with its spreading heavy branches gives shade. The grass gives food. There’re no pesticides, so the grubs are fat and healthy.
I gave them water yesterday in the dry heat of the afternoon. Two families greeted me this morning – three adults and three chicks – and their song soared.
I hope they’re there to greet Mum when she comes out of hospital.