12.29.22 [on the 6 train]

it's warmed back up, and we're headed up to the bronx zoo - by 'we' i mean my local family minus joe, who is a good sport about excursions like these and no fool when given an elegant out - to look at lights, i think? my yen to craft enrichment piƱatas for tigers up there was the beginning of my many years as a volunteer at the bird hospital; i tweeted about how my DIY skills were unimpressive to zookeepers and a friend who did wildlife rehab out on long island introduced me to my local bird people. i still haven't been back up there to volunteer since the winter before the pandemic, and i still can't tell you if or when i'll go. i know i miss being in a basement full of pigeons, and i know i don't miss sharing space with indifferent high school interns and, let's be honest, newer staffers who don't know what i already know how to do. i also miss the bad old days before best practices started including drawing a curtain around the waterfowl tank so human oglers don't disturb the birds. it is good and right to do that, and to speak as little as possible when handling patients and to discourage especially friendly ones, and it is fantastic that a big batch of tristate-area teens is learning that pigeons aren't voodoo dolls or garbage. i acknowledge this! i also miss slipping into the songbird flyway and having ben the cardinal swoop down to land on my shoulder and sing the song he only ever sang for me, which wouldn't ever happen again anyway; he's lived at the founder's house for years and years now, and he might not still be alive. i gave my beloved nonprofit bookstore a chance to evolve into something good after some unfortunate changes, and while i'll never be allowed to accidentally molest wildlife again, maybe i should give my relationship with the hospital a chance to heal into something different-but-serviceable. you know, like a pigeon's callused stump after its foot self-amputates. but i am a sentimental old goth and i also enjoy not knowing when i've done something for the last time. my dad and i happened to walk past the hospital earlier this week - it didn't dawn on me until it was about to happen - and i felt like i was driving past an ex-boyfriend's house. there were turtles in the window, but none i recognized or could greet by name.

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