Thursday, November 08, 2007
Birds and Ghosts in Ft. Lauderdale
Just this morning on my way to work in my little town of Stepford, I joined a few cars pulled off the road as we drivers stopped to stare at a most peculiar site. Across the lake, easily covering the backyard of an entire home was an assortment of ducks, egrets, ibises, snake birds, each standing in formation with his own group, all with heads craned left, focusing on the exact same spot in the horizon. Not one of them moved so much as a feather, and whatever mesmerized this feathered flock was not visible to any human one of us. There were about one hundred birds in this strange assembly which seemed to increase until they ran out of room on the land, standing in the shallow water... all standing, waiting, and watching.
After giving up trying to use my cell phone camera which works only when it wants to, I drove off wondering and praying it was not some kind of omen. I had always heard birds represent spirits in the life or death process, often seen as the guiders of souls into the world, as well as out of it. Interestingly enough, in one of the oldest cemeteries in Ft. Lauderdale, Evergreen Cemetery, there was a recent sighting of a rare bird exciting all the bird watchers in the county.
When I read the story I had laughed a little uneasily, for I knew that cemetery well, having at one time enjoyed driving past it...the peace, the trees, and the silence on a side road off the 17th Street Causeway in east Ft. Lauderdale. It has beautiful giant trees, and looks as if it has been there forever. People are always taking quiet walks or biking alongside the big iron fence on the one way road. One afternoon I was midway down the road when suddenly a man in a suit walking his dog caught me by surprise, seemingly appearing in front of my car from nowhere. I slowed when veering away, thinking I had better pay more attention to the road and not my CDs, when he turned and deliberately gave me a strange look. When I looked back in my rear view mirror, muttering about idiots who don't look where they're going, he was gone. I assumed he must have somehow walked very quickly inside the gates.
But the next day, when I came to that exact same spot, I was spooked to find there was no gate there; it was much further down. I never felt quite the same about the cemetery again, always wanting to look, but yet afraid to. Ghosts?
Who knows... but I can't stop thinking about those birds watching and waiting....