The Invisible Beauty of Pigeons

I recently read a post with the words “The boys in my world are tender…” and, like some words do, they stuck in my head.

The boys in my world are tender, too. They are only 15 months old.

They like to watch little sparrows and plump pigeons search for food in the grassy green patches of our residential area. Some of the pigeons are white ones and my boys are enchanted by their feathery footsteps and bouncy little jumps.

When we go for a walk, we often stop for a good 15 minutes to admire birds if the weather is nice. We’re in no hurry, we’re getting fresh air.

Then we continue our walk, the boys tucked tightly in their stroller, not complaining because as twins, they haven’t yet known the luxury of running around freely on the pavement next to cars and the sea. They don’t know of the things “singletons” their age get up to. Having just learned to walk, outdoors, they are too hard to watch by myself at this stage.

This phase will pass, I think, it’s not a big deal. They’re starting daycare in a few weeks and then they’ll have all the same experiences as everyone else. The exact same ones – for better or for worse.

At home, the boys run free. They literally run and their foreheads are decorated with bruises. When we go out, they simply sit calmly and happily in their stroller and enjoy the scenery.

They are alert and notice everything. They wave at people. Some people wave back. They point at trams. They love dogs – and they are in luck, too, because dog walkers are everywhere.

Sometimes the owners stop and chat with us. Once, a lady made her dog perform little tricks for us.

We go swinging sometimes but after 10 minutes, one of them will want to leave. He’ll have spotted a dog somewhere in the distance and would rather return to the stroller so we can catch up before the dog disappears.

Some grown-ups enjoy people-watching. My boys enjoy bird-and-dog-watching.

But one day, I was walking the same route alone, without my little ones. I passed the spot where the pigeons hang out and I noticed two older boys running around and shouting aggressively.

They were throwing sticks and stones at the pigeons.

The same pigeons my little boys so love to admire sweetly from a distance, always so excited at the sight of these everyday creatures, the most overlooked kind of all birds, almost invisible to so many of us. Their innocent gaze sees nothing detestable, nothing unlovable in these pigeons.

I stopped, not knowing what to think. I felt assaulted. Like someone had stepped into my happy place uninvited and destroyed it.

Is this a normal phase all boys go through when they grow up? A rite of passage between childhood and teenage?

Or are these eight-year-olds bullies? What else (or who else) do they bully besides these poor pigeons?

The next day, out and about with my little ones again, the bullies were gone. But their shadows were lurking in the back of my mind. What happens when we stop seeing the beauty of pigeons?

58 responses to “The Invisible Beauty of Pigeons

  1. They’re bullies. When kids stop seeing the beauty of pigeons, they become “old” and may turn into Trump… 🙂
    Enjoy your little ones “re-inventing” the world in the words of Hanna Arendt…
    Bye Lumi.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Boys like to throw things that’s for sure but I think once they realize they could cause pain, they stop. My husband doesn’t like crows hanging out on the deck so he attempts to shoot them with a water pistol which doesn’t hurt them as they are pretty big.

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  4. This is bittersweet. I also believe that in most parts of the world everyone has become too “careful” and now most would not dare to reprimand someone else’s child even when witnessing poor behaviours in public areas. (And, it can be a fine line)
    Your boys have beautiful souls ❤

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  5. Well, I don’t have kids, but in my experience kids are little people and like big people (AKA adults) they can be kind, cruel, happy, sad, cheerful, angry. Perhaps the two boys you saw will grow up to be fine upstanding adults or perhaps they’ll end up throwing rocks at people, or even bombs. Life’s journey through childhood into and through adulthood is never certain. I find it sobering to read about someone hauled up for a crime and thinking, ‘His story, his background, is not so very different from mine.’ Why does one person’s path lead them to dark places while another, very similar person, ends up on a totally different trajectory? Guiding that trajectory seems to be the great challenge of society, of parents, and of individuals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True. We’re a blank paper and then we get filled, colored, scribbled on in many different inks. One experience leads to another, and another.
      Those two bullies will probably go on to become extremely well-paid managers in companies full of animal lovers. The corporate world rewards ruthlessness. Okay, now I sound very cynical 🙂 Well, I have my moments, don’t we all!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love reading your blog, Snow! I have to say that I’ve been enjoying it more since you started writing more 🙂
    Aw that is so sad 😦 Why hurt those poor birds.. That is really a vile behavior from those boys. I think they weren’t taught well at home. When I was a young child, we often went to my grandfather’s home in the plain region of Nepal in the countryside, and he had a little wooden house for pigeons on the front yard. One of my favorite activities while there was throwing corn pieces on the ground for them and watching a hundred gather in the yard within minutes. Sometimes the baby goats would come too.. haha.The cooing of pigeons still remind of my childhood vacations in Nepal.
    Aww your boys are ready for daycare already! Where does the time go?! It feels like I found out about your twins through your blog just yesterday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Pooja, your kind words made me smile from ear to ear, thank you very much! I think I’ve started to enjoy blogging in a very different way since I started writing more (and I’m glad you noticed the change!!). Before, I didn’t want to get too personal. Now, I’ve let my guard down a bit and I feel comfortable doing so. Yay! Also, I love writing. Usually the posts write themselves in my head, but for a while I lost my inspiration a bit. Now I feel I’m back on track and I’m happy for it – the silence in my head was a bit boring! 😀
      I loved reading about your childhood pigeons and goats – have you written any blog posts on those times by the way?? I’d love to read a post from you about what your childhood and teens were like in Nepal. About experiences like the one you described here.
      …And yes: daycare already!!! They are still so small, I’d love to stay home with them longer but my bank account doesn’t agree, need to go back to work sooner or later!

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  7. This makes me sad, too; I can feel the same shadow in the scene now and wish you and your boys (and all of us!) could remain innocent forever. But we know that is not the way of the world, sadly. I have always read that hurting animals is a very bad first sign, so I hope this was not a regular practice of these boys. I hope a little pre-adolescent group-think got them going this time and that none of them is really a sadist in the making. 😦

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  8. Perhaps their bully-like behavior is a reflection of how they are treated? I have come across situations like that before and have spoken out if the situation seemed safe. Mistreatment of animals is never a good thing in people.
    I love the sound of your boys and their curiosity in the world around them! Keep up the good work as a parent Snow!

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    • Yes, that thought did cross my mind. Maybe they come from unstable families and are unhappy themselves. Hard to say. Which is also why I hesitated to say anything. Also, they didn’t seem like the type who respectfully listens when grown-ups talk. But my first impression could of course be very wrong! Thanks Sabine for stopping by! 🙂

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  9. I read this post this morning while having breakfast. It definitely made me start my day with a smile, thanks to the sweet sweet story and the even sweeter small protagonists of it, but I can’t deny a “bitter note” of that smile. Your final questions indeed gave me a lot to think about how we are irremediably destined to change (for the worse?), that innocence and the ability to wonder at everything surrounding us. At first, I felt sad at the thought of it, but later on, I realized that the change can be “led” for the best. The secret relies on the parents, who must teach their children the good values of self-respect and respect towards the others.
    Your children are beautiful and I wish you, as they grow, to be able to keep alive in them the passion towards the beauty of the world and, above all, the beauty of pigeons. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, thank you so much for your kind words – such a thoughtful comment!
      You said it all so perfectly.
      Also, I think school teachers (and daycare/kindergarden teachers) have a very big responsibility too. Quite an important job actually, come to think of it.
      I hope hubby and I will be able to raise our little ones into curious and caring nature lovers 😊
      Have a great end of the week! Ciao!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. We’ve discussed this event together before but your post is ever so powerfull. You are a skillfull writer my friend.
    I wished I had found in the comments someone explaining to us all how hurting pigeons is no big deal… Because these bullies have parents, somewhere! And they are bound to have an explanation for this sort of behavior. I wish someone could have explained to us…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Véro for your thoughts! 😊
      I think it’s like you said earlier: the parents were absent (why?). Hoverparents are ridiculed online but isn’t it better to be too involved than too little (if those are the two options)?
      Another example: a lot of the times we’ve taken our one-year-olds to play areas and playgrounds in different places, making sure to put our boys in the area meant for only babies and toddlers, bigger kids have come tumbling there in a godzilla-like manner, almost stepping, falling and rolling on little babies who don’t yet know how to get out of the way. My friend’s tall 10-year-old weighs 50kg, imagine if 50kg came crushing down on a toddler’s spine and neck? And where are the parents??? Sitting nearby, smiling at their phones, absent-mindedly. Yesterday a bigger kid threw a frisbee at one of our boys and it just missed his head by a strand of hair. His parents were not there – at all. Ok, kids are kids and this is normal playing around but I feel protective of my delicate little ones. 💕😊

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      • One of the animations we’ve done this summer on board was “bed time stories”. On the ship, the play area is at the back of the selfservice restaurant. There is a small soft play structure like in Mc Donalds, plus a little area with mini benches, tables and sofas. We gather there to read the stories (doing voices and all!), telling the kids in the soft play that they can either join in or keep it quiet during the reading. It never takes more than 5 minutes before they start to yell and scream again, disturbing the little ones you came to listen to the stories. I ususally stand up remind the big ones the rules. Though totally useless. And up to today, I’ve never seen a parent teaching his kid that it is a question of RESPECT for the others.

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  11. Having had both two boys and a girl, I do think there were differences in their style of play. And that was not based upon behavior that they witnessed from others or TV. I have seen many children chasing birds along the shoreline. Throwing sticks and stones at them is definitely a disappointing tale to hear. Even if a child were doing it in innocence to try to make the birds fly (which it doesn’t sound like), you would think their parents would come in and teach them that is not how we treat animals. I hope your boys maintain their innocence for a long time.

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    • Thanks Amy for your opinion! Chasing animals is probably pretty normal: wanting to play with them. But trying to harm them… that’s different. Maybe this was a one-time thing and they realized it on their own? The parents were probably at work, it was late afternoon, our society is pretty work-driven.

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  12. I’ve been fascinated by birds since I was a kid, and pigeons are one of my favourites! I sometimes lament that they are so often overlooked, unappreciated, and mistreated. It was heart-warming to read this post about how your sons view them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. Loved this post. I’m firmly in the twins camp. Love watching birds and dogs plus chuck in the occasional fox and cats and you have my back yard. I felt for you that these future trumps (as Equinoxio put it) had sullied you and your boy’s space.

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