park under the highway

a story of a little bird

Under the big highway, on the other side of the road from our apartment, there is a little playground. My wife calls it a park, though for a park it is a quite sad place, a patch of dirt for ball games, a little bit of vegetation, and from our window we can see a tree. Those small parks can be seen everywhere in Tokyo, where there is a small piece of space available. Like under a big highway.

Early mornings when no one is around, or when the rain is pouring down like now, we can hear a bird singing from the tree in the park. It was my wife who started talking about him (we decided it must be a him), saying how she had heard a bird with a very very bad voice. And as we started to listen for him, we soon could tell him apart from all the other birds in the neighbourhood. There are the crows of course, bigger than those in Sweden, laughing at everything. There are the small birds that sometimes, I want to think out of curiosity, come to sit on our balcony railing; they speak a different language. But even among his kins, we can easily single out the voice of our little bird.

Pjuu. Pjuu. Pjuu. Pjuu. Pjupjupjupju. That is how his friends are all singing, chirping away at each other, happily celebrating days when the sky is blue and more quietly acknowledging days of thunder, all while trying to find a partner for the summer. But our little bird can not do what they can. All by himself he retreats to the little tree in the park and tries to sound like the other birds. Pjuu. Pjoo. Silence. Pjoo. Pjoo. Pjuu.

That must be the tree where birds go to practice singing early mornings before anyone is awake, my wife said. And practice he needs if he wants to sound like the other birds – he doesn’t seem to know neither the melody nor the words. On top of that, when our little bird tries to sing it is always out of tune. But we think it is so beautiful, even more beautiful than the other birds, we think he is so strong, not giving up, doing his absolute best, keep singing, hoping that one day he will hit the right pitch and successfully find a little lady bird that wants to make a family with him.

park under the highway

After writing the above, the park caretakers came and cut off almost all the branches of the little tree, and this has me worried – where will our little bird go to practice now; I so would like to introduce him to our son. I asked my wife, but she told me not to worry (she is really good at that, and I am good at worrying) – he loves the TV antenna on top of the school as well. Maybe we will find him there when our son finally comes out to meet us.

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