The unusual in the everyday

I’ve done little of consequence this Labor Day weekend — no travel, no big plans. Instead, I’ve been vegging outside, reading Middlemarch, drinking wine, and cooking the random kinds of meals that I tend to eat when A. is traveling, as he is now. I’m in my most ordinary environment — I haven’t really left my neighborhood — and yet it seems that I’ve been seeing things differently than usual. It might be A.’s absence, or the leisure afforded by an extra day, or the fact that I’m reading a 19th century novel instead of my usual diet of 20th/21st century fiction. I realized the difference most acutely when I saw these crazy green parakeets in a neighbor’s oak tree, swooping down to feast from a nearby pear tree. I work from home, so I stare at these trees a lot — and yet, I had only caught a glimpse of one of these bright birds on one previous occasion, and then I thought that I was imagining things. But now that I’ve associated the raucous cries that I hear all the time with these unusual monk parakeets lovebirds,[1] I realize that they must be in the oak tree quite often. They may even have a nest there. In the course of the afternoon, I saw them perch on neighbors’ balconies, trees, and fences, and even on the telephone wire right outside my apartment. And yet, I hadn’t ever really spotted them before today.

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