Amblin' Alameda: Kaffee Klatsch

Amblin' Alameda: Kaffee Klatsch

Morton Chalfy

There was a chill in the air this morning, aptly so for the first day of fall, but the rising sun held promise of another warm day. Marching down Willow to Shoreline I pass a knot of elementary school students and a few of their parents waiting to complete the group that will walk to school together.

At the foot of Willow, trucks and men from Ghilotti Brothers, San Rafael, are getting ready to spread the newly dredged and deposited sand along the beach. Their trucks and equipment are massive as befits the job of moving tons and tons of wet sand around. It makes me wonder about the future of the beaches in the coming days of global warming and sea level rise. Oh well, nothing in the universe stays the same for too long.

A fence has been erected along Shoreline consisting of metal stakes and plastic orange mesh, an unheralded but extremely useful tool that suddenly became ubiquitous - no doubt because it's lighter, cheaper and easier to set up than chain link fencing. The mesh runs along the pathway separating pedestrians from bushes with occasional signs proclaiming DANGER that warn us not to brave the beach while the big machines are doing their work.

I'm just strolling and thinking about nothing much when the sound of many birds cheeping lifts my eyes from my feet to see a flock of sparrows flitting into and out of a large bush that's missing many of its top leaves. The sparrows pay me no mind while I stand there and watch and listen and the image they provoke is of the Blue Dot Cafe during the morning rush.

“Hi, how ya doin'? Where are you off to today? Oh, really? I'm heading that way too. Good pickin's, I've heard.”

At least that's what I interpreted the “cheep, cheep, cheeps” to mean. Anthropomorphizing other life forms is probably never correct, but we do share so much with the rest of the living world in how we react to usual things that it always seems to make sense. I could see no other reason for the flock of 12 or 14 (they kept flitting and they all look the same) to be congregating there and being so vocal than it being their morning ritual, albeit without the coffee.

I had been thinking that Alameda is full of peace-loving people of the “I'm not looking for any trouble” kind when I came upon the sparrows and I'm happy to include them in the group. They brighten the day with their songs and add to the peaceful atmosphere.