Winter's Crush

This week’s Sunday Scribblings topic is “crush”. They are looking for short posts concerning its application to “First crush, current crush, illicit crush, painful soul-crushing crush.” I see the word differently, in light of the weather we have had this past week.


The gentle tinkling of crystal, accompanied by the groan of laden wood, lent music to the air as the branches of the trees swayed in the wind under their heavy cocoon of ice. The morning sun peaked between gray buildings, and the ice upon the limbs captured its fire in a dazzling display of prismatic beauty. On the ground below the branches, heavy layers of snow and ice blanketed the streets and lawns, encasing shrubbery and cars alike.

A small pigeon fluttered down from the hospital rooftop, drawn to the warm exhaust of a small shuttle bus. Veterans lined up to board the vehicle, yet the bird offered them no more regard than they gave it.

The pigeon squatted upon the icy pavement, one leg tucked towards its body. Its feathers were ruffled in an attempt to conserve body heat. Humanity walked around it, stepping over it with little regard for the tiny creature struggling to maintain its life in these cold, cruel elements.

The pigeon cocked its head and stared at me from a single auburn eye. The meager sunlight glinted upon the iridescent purples and greens of its plumage as the pigeon offered a soft “coo” to me. It was all too familiar with the press of humanity.

It seemed unperturbed by the harsh chemical poisons from the shuttle bus exhaust as it basked in the heat from the tailpipe. Unmoving, uncaring, it stood its ground and found comfort in this deadly form of survival.

How often do we go about our day, complaining of our brief struggles with the elements during the travels between work and home? We should stop to consider our blessing and fortune, for there are many lives upon this planet who struggle greatly from the crushing oppression of winter.

14 responded with...:

Otter said...

Since moving south I sometimes forget how difficult winter can be, thanks for reminding me.

I remember the city pigeons that would stare at me from inside the "warmth" of abandoned buildings while I struggled to walk against the wind and cold of Chicago in January.

Rena said...

What a great observation of the way winter can be so crushing.

Liza on Maui said...

interesting take on the word crush :) - a winter crush :)

I enjoyed reading it.

paris parfait said...

Well I never thought I'd feel sorry for a pigeon - after years of living in cities plagued by way too many pigeons, but your piece paints a different picture. I like your use of the "winter's crush" theme.

Just Meg said...

I relate to nature all the time. I try to see & listen. I feel sometimes, that a specific nature experience is meant, just for me. However, I also have to remember my link in the food chain. Sometimes, it does not make sense to me, how cruel of an enviroment we can find ourselves in, despite our "rank" in the food chain.
I still try to find meaning in the experiences I have on a daily basis. Maybe they are meant to share, and maybe someone else will "get it", like I did with your post. You are attracted to the aloneness and struggle, and complete feeling of disregard by your fellow mankind.
I have sometimes felt that way, too.
Touching post.
Thank you.

Annie Jeffries said...

This is so deeply moving Toni and very different from the edgy humor you often give us. I very much enjoyed the sober tone you brought to this post.

Waspgoddess said...

I know pigeons are a nuisance, but I still felt real empathy for the poor creature in your tale.

We should indeed stop and pay thanks to what we have more often. Good reminder.

gautami tripathy said...

Great post. Food for thought.

Painfully yours..

JHS said...

Excellent reminder. You should include it in "Blog Your Blessings" over at the Blue Panther Experience.

If that's the pigeon, it looks well-fed and able to survive for at least a while. :-)

Mine is posted. :-)

sundaycynce said...

Beautifully written --and illustrated---piece. I am an animal lover, although birds are not actually among my favorite creatures. But I was ready to scoop up your little pigeon and find him a warm, but safe, place to weather the winter. Thanks for reminding us all to be mindful of those not as fortunate as we are.

Stick it in your eyes said...

I enjoyed the struggle of the pigeon. The image of it warming itself in the exhaust will stay with me. Lovely.

Elspeth said...

Oh how sweet (and sad). I've always loved pigeons but more so now since I found and cared for a baby one the other day.

Anonymous said...

Oh do I know how that poor pigeon feels - I have come to hate New York winters.
In the mornings they fly into the bus station to keep warm.
Thanks for sharing.
Waving at you from an icy NYC,

Mary J. said...

I used to work at a public hospital where the homeless and pigeons (often injured) congregated. This poem reminded me of that and how our modoern society lives with the natural world. Great poem.