#yegpie pieces

Here are some magpie thoughts, and how they chattered to each other this morning.

On Twitter, this woke me up:

Bravo. MT : Provoked by , I woke up and started a "web log" about 

Edmonton as magpietown. Very cool. Like a magpie in a dumpster, it just fits. On the trail out to this new blog, who do I see already on his way back but El Viejo himself -- the great Ian Tyson. I have always been a Tyson fan. He has helped teach me how to see where I live. And if he thinks the magpie rises to the timelessness of song, I just sing along.

                D             E
Some say (some say) you're a bold deceiver
A         D             E
I say (I say) you're a true believer
 D            E                      A
You know the west ain't never gonna die
         D               E
Just as long as you can fly

Edmonton as magpietown. It fits. Like the E chord over the word west. I grab my guitar, find the aptly named SoundCloud app, and give the first chorus a north-end try. With apologies: 

I hit the stop button and a magpie in the front yard mountain ash punctuates the song with a squawk. And then a grim memory of that same mountain ash. Summer. Years ago. Saturday morning. Tired. So tired. Trying to sleep in. Work seemed endless. The demands of two young sons seemed the same. And just outside the bedroom window in that mountain ash, that sound. That terrible sound. A magpie. A microphoned magpie tuning up. Hitting those power chords. I had to sleep. I couldn't sleep with that sound. I went outside to see. On the ground I saw a hockey puck. I picked it up and threw it into the tree to scare the bird off. But I hit it, and it bounced off branches, wings fluttering, until it hit the ground. Dead. I felt that swell of heat and blood behind my knees.

I won't aim at magpies again. Or throw hockey at my city.

And then another memory flew in from the blue. "Mr. Kubish, your argument exhibits a magpie's nest of logic." That was the verdict from a University of Alberta political science professor who didn't think much of an undergraduate essay I wrote on Francis Bacon. Twisted, tortured, tangential. What an image: a magpie's nest of logic! I will never forget that.

But here is the question: what would it be to see a magpie for the first time? Like friends who moved from Winnipeg to downtown Edmonton and were stopped at the beauty of that black and white bird with the iridescent thing in its tail?



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