Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This week's piece is about the residents many love to hate; we trip over them Downtown, they congregate in the plaza and fly in hordes near where we eat-pigeons. Pigeons have a long and intimate history with humanity, following humans into cities. These "Rock Doves" have survived on our garbage, and are often called "flying rats," but they are from the same family as doves.They are actually one and the same, just a different species. It is all semantics as to which is the better bird.

With the weather still holding it's warmth, I have passed by many children at the bus stop running through packs of these birds, enjoying their company. Seeing the lift off from the child's play reminded me of the exploration of Eadweard Muybridge's photos, and how simple and curious investigation can lead to something profound. The city is a place of work, but is it a place of play outdoors enough for families? I grew up in Omaha, NE, and in the very heart of Downtown are built in slides. Big, bright, and large enough to sit in your mother's lap if you got scared. Located in the Gene Leahy Mall, an outdoor park in the middle of the city, the park edges a massive library, fountains and shops, what you want in the heart of a city. Burnside Park in Providence has had a lovely transformation in the last few years, and it has become a place to congregate and celebrate during the warmer months, and through the winter months at the skating rink.

When I first came to Providence, I would walk Downtown on weekends and it would be me and a few pigeons. I would maybe run into a few people. The city echoed. Pigeons have historically followed humanity and its ephemera. The flocks are so numerous now that they have attracted predators like hawks and owls. It is only because of Providence's success at attracting more people to live and work Downtown that they have been able to multiply.

Included on this section are quick sketches of rock doves I have seen while waiting at the bus stop. Many of these were done while seeing children running through large gatherings of them. The pigeons are not only on this swatch, but they fly and eat elsewhere on the quilt, scattered like in real life, and everywhere!

No comments: