Perspective | Lina Krishnan

He hates waking to a blank white wall

But my eyes quickly climb to the tree line

Besides, this is the wall 

Where the woodpeckers perch

On lucky days

Just a common garden wall, a broad strip of painted, rough, white stone. 

But it’s a thoroughfare for the Little Kingdom. First, a squirrel zips across, with the effortless glide of an all day runner.  The treepies at the back do their daily dozen, flitting from tree to tree, warbling their sweet song to the still somnolent world of humans. Unaware of the watcher within, the little bee eater flirts with itself in the dark window, flying away several times before returning to the fatal fascination of an unresponsive lover.  Then a brown bulbul with glints of red struts across the wall. Looking left, then right, checking for traffic before crossing over to its hidden nest. 

And such caution is valid, for a large white shape does loom soon enough. Soft pad pad, no sound, nothing at all that will give away an inkling that a feline is about. The suspense becomes almost unbearable, and so the squirrel screams at last, and immediately all the birds begin to tap out their morse codes. 

On other mornings, the wall has more royal visitors. Of brilliant plumage and sword beak. A pair of glorious flameback woodpeckers, decked in ochre and scarlet and black, announce their own arrival; no town crier can match their tan tara tara. 

All this pageantry is mine, as I stir into wakefulness. I wonder what else, or who else, lives in those undisturbed woods. 

Just beyond my garden wall. 

Lina Krishnan is a poet and an abstract artist in Auroville.


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