I woke in the morning to the raucous “caw-cawing” of a crow.
He was perched on the electric wires above my sidewalk bed, swaying back and forth in the breeze to keep his balance as he cried.
I was concerned that he might go to the bathroom on me and I pulled the blanket back over my head.
It was already 7: 00 AM and soon the heat of the sun would make it impossible to remain where I was, let alone sleep.
I heard the “caw-cawing” again. Then it was quiet.
I listened, but I heard nothing.
In a world that should be teeming with birdsong, I heard nothing. No sound of other birds.
Oh my God, I thought, Rachel Carson’s 'Silent Spring'* has come at last.
I waited. Eventually I heard a sparrow. Then other birds. Nuisance birds, Rachel had called them. All that we have in the city.
I got up from the surprisingly comfortable bed I had made from three airline cushions. I surveyed my surroundings. From where I stood I could look across the parking lot and see people going in and out of Circuit City. A place where I would be able to panhandle.
A block the other way I could see the rooftop of Von’s Supermarket, where I would be able to purchase alcohol.
Down the hill I could see the traffic and city buses going down Virgil Ave.
At least I would be centrally located.
Life goes on. Another day had begun.
* 'Silent Spring' by Rachel Carson was the first great book to alert the public to the danger of chemical pesticides and helped to spark interest in environmental concerns that would characterize the decade of the 1960’s.