August 13, 2013 § 2 Comments
The war began over a week ago. The screams from down the street target open windows through the rain, flooding in and echoing wildly. I know this isn’t my battle, but it remains crippling nonetheless.
Last day of June
Clouds spiral into smoke as the evening sun sets them ablaze. On my left, in the glow of the evening, Pariah Kites crowd the tops of a cluster of coconut trees as the monsoon thermals momentarily catch their breath. Almost instinctively, I glance above to the branched home of nearly a hundred Fruit Bats. I continue walking.
Six months into 2013, and I’ve already left two homes. With new landscapes, we give time to observe, understand and accommodate. I’ve often taken this city for granted. On the surface, it was rarely pleasing and almost always unfamiliar, yet this street and my memories for today are my home. From here, I have watched the sea gradually become a distant neighbour. From days of fishing and open skies, to making playgrounds of newly constructed sites that soon drove traffic through my street, to longer walks and waiting for trees to grow taller, and shelter nesting birds and us from a view of a trapped sea; my first friend, first poem, first puppy, first bloody knee, first fight, first cycle, first mystery to solve and the beginning of all my journeys.
There is a little street in this world that has always been my familiar, always been my home. And tomorrow, I get back on the road.
A month later
I returned to struggle with questions of identity and belonging. My old familiar had been rattled in my fleeting absence. The steady Kite population had soared, and captured the local prey base. Little hope remained, and most others fled to look for less competitive grounds. But not the House Crows. Warriors of Today, the only ones that fought back were the Kites, nesting Drongos and the Bandicoots. However, the Crows’ cleverness overcame them as they drove away all other competition, leaving room for the Kites to rise. Threatened, they formed camps and sent out troops, 10 to 1, no matter the target.
The Crows were slipping in their ranks. Worry began to creep through the grey skies, with storms dampening spirits. It was time for a new reign, and they had tried all they believed possible – overturned every nest, every breeding and feeding site, and every home; except for that of the Fruit Bats.
The Fruit Bats, who never had reason to flee, continued to return each evening and chatter into the night. The patch of Copperpods and Gulmohars had always been their home, always been their familiar. This haven soon became a distant memory as the attacks began to plummet their everyday.
I had missed the initial scream, the haunting cry of a Bat in distress. Now they bleed through the skies as every evening, the Bats struggle to claim what has always been theirs, but remain beat by the Crows’ strategies and numbers, and are forced to flee. The screams ring through the night, creating nightmares for those of us that lie outside the battleground. The Kites keep watch until the sun rises, but they do not push out the Crows. They only wait for them to tire, wait for the coming of what they believe to be the Final Battle.