I wouldn’t have noticed it, if it weren’t for the birds.
My head was down, my eyes on my feet as they traversed new cement pavement. The freeway overpass was near my ears, but I’d long since learned to train it out of my brain – it’s just white noise. Trains, too. Just white, featureless noise. There were softer sounds around, and I heard the pad of my dog’s feet, or the squeak of my sneakers. No people were about, though, no voices on which I could drop eves. My mind was elsewhere, trenched up in the processes that make up my life, when an abrupt realization made me forget my thoughts and look up from the ground.
Heavenward went my gaze, and I sought out what sounded to me at first to be chicks, baby birds. I looked for a nest, for surely these smallish squeaks didn’t belong to full-grown birds. Logic intervened, telling me that baby birds are not often born at this time of year, especially in this climate. So I searched for birds, adult birds, however small they may have been.
And I found them, sitting upon a radio tower.
At least, that’s what I think it was…
It was topped with oddly shaped drums, with a small platform welded between them. And there they were, those birds. Right in between the drums, too. Yelling at each other with lilliputian inflection. Discussing the weather, the season, the price of worms on the black market. They chattered and bartered and discussed their bird things, and I listened, and looked at the tower.
What a strange thing to still be standing – a radio tower. It was painted in stripes of faded red and chipping white. A series of ladders and platforms, arbitrarily placed, let to the top of the tower and it’s bizarre drums. I tried to picture the tower without drums, and I decided it looked a little bit like the Eiffel tower.
I started walking again, silently thanking the little birds for their squabbles, silently thinking about the Eiffel tower.
I went there once. Right to the top of it, and the ascension was horrifying. A glass elevator took twenty people upwards to a first platform. The claustrophobia could not have been more acute. It was so stark that when I’d decided I’d had my fill of the Parisian scenery, I refused to take the elevators down.
I took the stairs.
There’s 1700 steps.
I. Took. The. Stairs.