On my street in San Francisco, there are roses and bottle brush trees,
lemon trees, orange trees and banana palms. Neighbors have created
lush gardens on the sidewalks right in front of their brightly painted
Dolores Park is two blocks away: a sloping green with magnolia trees
and palm trees and the city skyline, clearly visible. Downtown is a mile
off. This is where I take my puppy- A "Eurasier" dog- part Chow-Chow
and part wolf. Though his genealogy is a bit more complex, it boils down
to Chow and wolf. As such, "Tarquin" looks like a small gingerbread bear.
To the park we go, morning and afternoon- and, puppies being puppies,
Tarquin is a sensation. It's fine. He needs to be well socialized to people
(and to dogs). If not, the wolf thing will come out and he could be/come
But the other day as he was romping happily with other dogs, a flash
of red, yellow and blue went by and someone cried, "Look at that!"
And someone else shouted, "Oh my God! I don't believe it!"
Two giant Macaws were flying freely over the park. Three feet long
from their head to the tip of tail feathers, they were zooming around
before coming to light on the arm or shoulders of their trainer/friend.
I grabbed Tarquin and walked up the hill- unable to belueve my eyes
for, though I've lived in this area for many years, I never saw anything
so surprising or so wonderful (and- trust me here, folks- that's saying
a lot when it comes to San Francisco's Castro District.)
The bird handler- a young fellow of Chinese descent, named Chan-
was patient in answering questions as "Rudy" and "Bella" flew in
or flew out again. Chan explained that he'd trained them the same way
people train falcons and, indeed, when at one point Bella didn't return
but chose to linger in a palm tree two hundred yards away, Chan told
Rudy, "Go get Bella." Just like that, Rudy flew off, circled Bella,
cawed a few times and they both flew back to Chan.
If you want to see this on video, you can Google: "Chan the bird man"
and there it all is. Or go to his website chanthebirdman.com It's really
an amazing sight and, for me, an expansion of my world or the sense
of my city that, in San Francisco, brilliant red green and yellow parrots
fly free, circling overhead and adding to the brilliance of this world.