Monday, 4 April 2011

In Praise of Ruperts - Joan Lennon

I have just returned from a remarkable experience. I spent March as the Jessie Kesson Fellow at Moniack Mhor Writers' Centre. I lived in a cottage on a hill (1000 feet up), with its very own micro-climate - everything from thigh-high snow, to sitting out in the sun watching the daftness of lambs, to the foggiest fogs I have ever seen - and I wrote. When I wasn't writing, I thought about writing. When I went to sleep, I dreamed about writing. I did a day a week in the schools talking about writing and getting the kids to write. I worked with the Highland Literary Salon on their Writers' Retreat Weekend. I was obsessed. I was, in fact, a deleriously happy Rupert.

Let me explain.

Rupert is a crow. He also lives at Moniack Mhor. He sees life differently from other crows. I know this because Rupert throws himself at buildings. Now, many birds will occasionally be confused by the glass in a window and bump into it. Having done so, they will either a) drop down dead or b) give themselves an embarrassed shake and fly away. Not Rupert. Rupert seeks out windows with intent, and when he finds them he throws himself at them like a feathery grenade, bounces off, and does it again.

Bam. Bam. Bam.

If you interrupt Rupert in mid-attack by, say, opening the door and yelling, he'll only go a little way off and then squat on a fence post and swear at you. You just know he's going to be back. He is on a mission - his tiny demented mind is full of conquest ...

Bam. Bam.

At first he specialised in subduing the windows of my cottage. By the time my residency was over, he had transferred his attention to the big house and was attacking that. There are A LOT of windows in the main building, but Rupert is a bird obsessed. I'm convinced he's happy in his work. I like to think we have things in common.

So here's to Ruperts everywhere. Here's to slant vision, quixotic pursuits, perseverance and a hard head.

Here's to obsession.


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catdownunder said...

Ah yes. nothing like banging your head against a glass wall! :-)

John Dougherty said...

I'm off to do that very thing at my desk right now!

Lindsey Fraser said...

I must pack my cycle helmet for Pushkin Week in May!

Rosalie Warren said...

Love the sound of Rupert and know the feeling! I bet he's working on a novel.

Sue Purkiss said...

We used to have a mad blackbird who did the exact same thing on and off for several months - I suppose he finally divebombed some window or other one time too many. Bless...

Sarah Taylor-Fergusson said...

Have heard that it's young male birds who are fathering for the first time who go a bit nuts with defending their patch. We've had a cock blackbird start a sustained attack on my dad's wing mirror - this began at the same time as his hen was sitting on the eggs. That was two years ago. It didn't happen last year, so there might be something in it.