Friday, August 24, 2012

La chasse commence

Wild game?  Yum!

But what's this?  Has la chasse de septembre begun already?  La rentre hasn't even taken place yet.  Tout Paris is still away on vacances and they won't return until this coming Sunday.

We have been settling comfortably into our new apartment.  Things have been cleaned.  Things have been acquired.  Things have been slept in.  Things have been watched.  Things now reflect our sensibilities, or the foreign born lack thereof.  Things have been heard.

 Quietly avoiding la chasse...

Each place we have lived has presented us with a unique collection of sounds that sometimes take getting used to.

One of the great things about our apartment is it's proximity with nature.  Our shared courtyard is filled with trees, plants, insects, birds, and bats.  We watched as a pair of doves built a nest in a tree very close by.  Jude one morning spied a raptor of some kind as it swooped through her field of vision out the back windows. 

We were happy to see a pair of raptors on la chasse when we lived for a short time up in the 16th.  It was quite the sight to watch them work over the smaller birds.  One looked like it had captured a pigeon.

One morning, around 09h00, we heard a crack!  It was slightly muffled, but it was at the same time distinctly clear.  A few moments later we heard another crack!

We thought it strange.  So I opened an investigation into the source and nature of the crack! sounds.  I looked at the landing in front of our apartment door.  There is a small shared air duct that helps keep air circulating between les etages.  I thought perhaps we were hearing metal louvers with some small amount of force crack! shut.  Our air vent had no such louvers so it was unlikely the source of the curious sound.

The next morning, around 08h30, we heard another crack!  Then another.  And again another.

 Baby dove feeding time...

Puzzled, I went back out our front door to inspect the electrical system.  There are three power meters in a closet just outside our apartment.  The more I inspected and the more I thought about it, any arcing of the power system would likely leave the distinct smell of ozone or electronics in the process of failing.  It would be dangerous and rather unlikely.

The crack! sounds were heard from time to time.  We were no closer to an answer than the first day we heard that crack!  The investigation continued.

In the mean time, we noted that the local pigeons, which usually lined the top of a school facade two doors west of us, had quite suddenly disappeared.  On le trottoit in front of the school lay remnants of a pigeon or two.  It seems that the raptor Jude caught a glimpse of had une chasse success.

I could easily imagine the raptor sweeping into our courtyard area by squeezing unseen between tall buildings to the north.  By coming in at a great rate of kilometer par heure lower than the roofline, I could further imagine the hunter bird calculating the exact moment to pop up to roof level as it caught the pigeons completely off guard.  Lunch would be, by then, only a split second away.

Our nesting doves had suddenly become very quiet.  The mother dove would fly stealthily to a branch after being away and sit for twenty minutes.  She then moved slowly down the branch to sit and look at her young.  Slowly and very quiet.  Only then would she move onto the nest.  Her three young had been told to keep quiet.  She feeds them without a sound.

Jude was preparing breakfast recently when things became even more interesting.  Her pancakes are simply not to be missed.  All gluten and egg free.  When cooked with her new 7 inch inexpensive blue steel very French crepe surface they rival anything ever made with eggs and wheat.

It was then we heard CRACK!  Jude whipped around just in time to catch the sight of un voisin upstairs retreating from his own kitchen widow.  He'd been hunting pigeon!

Well, not exactly.  We think what he was up to was trying to scare away the pigeons that roosted in our air-well that is open to the sky.  The air-well is used to share cooking smells between the residents.  Steak frites, bad fried fish, and our very own pan-caker are commonly smelled. 

We're not sure what contraption our voisin was using to make the crack!  Maybe he was practicing for when hunting season opens?

What I feel like saying to him is come September (in a week), all bets will be off!  Get your license!!  It'll be time for la vraiment chasse!!!

Mystery solved.  Case closed.

Pigeon under glass, anyone?

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