I’ve never been fond of pigeons. Even now, I admit I still tend to dismiss them, am less pleased to see a group of them on a telephone wire than a gathering of mourning doves, some strange bird snobbery at work in me. But now I remind myself of what I came to know of them in Mexico. When I lived in La Casa Azul, in the blue house in Todos Santos, I came to respect pigeons. They lived next door to me, in the eves of the artist’s studio, the man I rented my house from there. I always wondered if he initiated their residency, started the colony there on some whim, some fancy about the romance and quirkiness the studio should reflect, not realizing how it might grow. I never asked.
But I would sit perched on my tall wrought iron chair in my semi-third-floor roost and watch the pigeons fly together. I’d always loved the sounds they made nestled in the eves, the muted rounded coos, bird pillow talk. But I never really watched them fly before. I remember the first time I saw them take off for their morning flight, making big loops across the sky, flapping and gliding in tandem. I was struck by the vigor of their bird bodies, by their prowess in formation despite the quickness of their flight. They would launch into the air together every morning for the first looping flight, a burst of celebration for the day to come. In the late afternoon, they took flight again before dusk, a happy sky dance, a few last circles of gratitude and play before bed. And I would sit in my own roost, feet propped on the rebar railing before me, and marvel at the ease of their antics. Each time they took to the sky, I fluttered with awe.