2 weeks ago I began a writing course at U.C.L.A. You need to understand I am not sure I even graduated High School. I have a hard time focusing and never achieved a grade higher than a C. Usually it was a D or F. So the concept that I would actually sign up for a college course when I didn't have to would seem pretty far fetched. I'm sure I will go into greater detail another time. There was a homework assignment. A homework assignment that was not mandatory. Did you hear me ? I didn't have to do it but I did. You may not understand the power of that statement. I did homework and I didn't even have to.
The assignment was to describe my surroundings and start with the words "I remember". One problem I had was keeping the story under the set limit of 2 pages. So I gave it a shot and I really do appreciate your comments. My first writing assignment-
A Small Window of Blue Sky
I remember the sun fighting its way through the many branches and leaves that intertwined like a road map above me. There was a small window of blue sky between the many branches of the Eucalyptus tree that stood shoulder to shoulder with the Elm and Oak fighting for possession of the earth and sky. Laurel Canyon Blvd is a congested 2-lane road that connects the over crowded San Fernando Valley to the carnivorous world known as Hollywood. This thoroughfare slithers through many trees as dense as one might find in the rainforests of Costa Rica. Where there is not a tree you will find homes of every shape size and monetary value.
I stood in my front yard. A blanket of manicured grass in an area no bigger than a basketball court. My hand held out in the way one might use for a karate chop. Gripping the top finger were 2 grayish claws. Each digit was the diameter of a pencil with talons the color of coal. The claws belonged to my African Grey Parrot Voodoo. He was 12 inches tall with feathers displaying every shade of gray. In stark contrast his tail feathers were a brilliant shade of red. Calling him a pet dilutes our bond. Friendship does not even scratch the surface. Voodoo was a part of me. If I was watching the Shield, Californication or any T.V. program related to NASCAR Voodoo was with there. There was even a perch in the shower. This bird had been by my side for 15 years. His vocal capabilities were astounding. Contrary to the white coats findings birds do more than mimic at least Voodoo did. He used words at appropriate moments whether it was calling each of the 4 animals in the house by name or just giving you a greeting when you walked into the room. He was the source of constant sound in the house. I had become used to the chirps, occasional shrieks and ever expanding vocabulary. The sound became as familiar as the sunlight as it filled up each room throughout the day. Every morning Voodoo was the first sound you heard and it gave the house a sense of playfulness and whimsy. I learned to take caution when the house would fall silent. It usually meant Voodoo had left his perch and was sneaking down the hall, staying close to the wall so not to be spotted. He would take great pleasure causing the scream only produced by a human stricken with the shock and slight pain of a beak being clamped on the naked toe.
Badger my Australian Shepherd began his military like pace in front of the door signifying one thing. “Open the door or I’ll piss all over your precious hard wood floors”. I offered my hand to Voodoo and like he has routinely done for year’s climbed on to my outstretched finger. Badger, Voodoo and I walked down the stairs towards the front yard. Badger was much more brisk in his stride undoubtedly due to the urgency to relieve himself. While Badger proceeded to water the plants I brought my hand slowly in front of my face so that my feathered compadre and I were eye level. His eyes always cut through the stress that eats at me.
A humongous dump truck barreled down the private road adjacent to my home. Large thick clouds of dust and exhaust escaped from beneath the truck like massive fists. The 2 ton steel monster lunged forward as the deafening sounds of small boulders in the payload slammed against its metal walls. The mammoth sized creature came to an abrupt stop.
I remember the sun fighting its way through the many branches and leaves that intertwined like a road map above me. A small window of blue sky between the many branches of the Eucalyptus was filled with the silhouette of a startled bird soon to be swallowed up in the labyrinth of this urban jungle Once Voodoo had overcome the terrifying sound he was stricken with the fear of being struck by the rushing automobiles beneath him. He was experiencing this terror for the first time in his life. He began to fly higher escaping each new fear that confronted him until he was lost behind the thickness of the trees on Laurel Canyon forever