Thursday, August 02, 2007

What’s My Line

Our neighborhood looks like it has been hit by a gang of deranged graffiti “artists.” Everywhere there are multi-color lines going this way and that. First, white lines appeared, streaking across our front lawns. Then red lines, followed by orange. Then blue and last green.

As we were admiring. . . no, make that puzzling over the painted lines, a notice appeared on our doorknob. Ah—technology advances. We are about to be treated to Verizon’s insertion of fiber optic lines through our neighborhood. Since we have all our utility lines buried underground, any time any new lines are added, all the existing utilities have to come out and mark where their lines are already inserted.

The notice also informed us that if we had put in any electrical lines, invisible fences, or any such underground wiring, to mark it so the diggers would not disrupt our lines. So, my husband dutifully manufactured little flags out of an old t-shirt and fence post ties.

Now the waiting begins—when will sandhogs arrive. These sandhogs aren’t nearly so grand as those that built such marvels as the New York Subway system. These guys come in with some kind of boring machine, and push through underground, inserting orange tubing.

I watched for their arrival today, as the notice promised some activity within the next three days. All I saw were guys walking around the neighborhood, looking at the multi-color lines.

I also saw a fanatical robin that sat in the Douglas fir next to our house, chirping all day long. This morning, my husband took the dog for their morning walk—and the dog found a baby robin at the base of our light post.

Somehow, the baby robin ended up on our driveway—probably trying to escape the dog who was MOST interested in this little creature. I went out, with garden gloves on, picked up the baby robin and put it at the base of the Douglas fir. I think junior robin was trying to fledge, didn’t quite have the hang of it, and got away from Mama Robin. So all day, Mama kept calling. At one point she had an insect in her mouth, trying to coax that baby back. As of nightfall, she was still out there calling. Better find junior before the diggers get here.

I went looking for a poem on builders and found this whimsical little poem.

The Builders
by Sara Henderson Hay

I told them a thousand times if I told them once:
Stop fooling around, I said, with straw and sticks;
They won’t hold up; you’re taking an awful chance.
Brick is the stuff to build with, solid bricks.
You want to be impractical, go ahead.
But just remember, I told them; wait and see.
You’re making a big mistake. Awright, I said,
But when the wolf comes, don’t come running to me.

The funny thing is, they didn’t. There they sat,
One in his crummy yellow shack, and one
Under his roof of twigs, and the wolf ate
Them, hair and hide. Well, what is done is done.
But I’d been willing to help them, all along,
If only they’d once admitted they were wrong.

Here’s a quick poetry lesson. This poem follow a sonnet form—specifically, an Elizabethan sonnet form which is divided into a first part of 8 lines, with a rhyming scheme of abab cdcd; then a second part of 6 lines with the rhyming scheme of efefgg. The first part forms the dilemma, and the second part answers. And frequently, the gg lines give a little spin on the theme.

This sonnet meets these conventions nicely.

OK—infrastructure to sonnets—what’s the connection? Why, lines, of course. Painted lines, poetic lines—whatever.


Larry said...

We've got people marking up the street outside of our house, and I wonder what they've been up to.-The only kind of poem that I know is one where the words rhyme.

dmmgmfm said...

You are so very creative. I hope your diggers are neat and tidy in their work and that the baby robin is alright.

Anonymous said...

And I thought you were going to say they were crop circles! It's nice that the lines are all buried underground - so much nicer on the environment.

You did exactly the right thing with the robin, too. Mom will keep track of him.

Anvilcloud said...

I tink you're reaching for that connection. :)

Anvilcloud said...

Ha love the typo.

Dorothy said...

Oh Donna, this brings to mind our experience with Verizon last year. We had simply called them to inquire about their new fiberoptic service, and the next thing we knew, they arrived with paintcans in hand ready to dig up our street and property. We never ordered the service!!!! UGHHHHHHHHHHH.....we opted to keep our current cable...and after MANY phone calls they did not dig up our yard. It was very close though.

Cathy said...

Oh, Donna! This is excellent! Bless you for the Robin rescue and the wonderful sonnet. Yes - I see that it does fulfill the conventions as you suggest. Very nice.

(BTW - You don't have to worry about leaving your human scent on baby birds. It's my understanding that there's no reason to be concerned that the parents will reject a 'man-handled' fledgling.)

Mary said...

Donna, I'm sorry I've been away and missed your posts!

This one made me cackle "what's my line?" LOL

So you are coming to the aid of fledglings, too? GOOD JOB!

Ditto what Cathy said about human scent. But some little babies will bite!