me in the piazza

I'm a writer, publishing both as SJ Rozan and, with Carlos Dews, as Sam Cabot. (I'm Sam, he's Cabot.) Here you can find links to my almost-daily blog posts, including the Saturday haiku I've been doing for years. BUT the blog itself has moved to my website. If you go on over there you can subscribe and you'll never miss a post. (Miss a post! A scary thought!) Also, I'll be teaching a writing workshop in Italy this summer -- come join us!
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White dove flies with the pigeons

I'm a New Yorker; you'd think I wouldn't get excited about pigeons. At home I generally don't, though I don't mind them. Here in Assisi it's different. First of all, they're more homogeneous here. Just like the rest of America, New York's pigeons are mongrels, European rock doves interbred with native North American species so that we get brown ones, spotted ones, lots of asymmetrical ones. In Assisi, they're all gray rock doves, identical, and they swoop picturesquely around the rooftops beneath my window up here on the hillside. You can't help but feel warm toward them.

Also, one has built a nest under the eave of a balcony next to the hotel, in such a way that the nest is at eye level while you're waiting for the elevator on my floor. Never before this year have I taken an elevator in this hotel, but I busted up my knee -- yes, following on my busted-up calf -- and I'm supposed to avoid stairs for awhile. But if I hadn't been taking the elevator I'd never have spotted the pigeon's nest, would I? Mama pigeon has been quite assiduous, and in the last couple of days the babies -- three of them -- have begun to clean their feathers and flap their wings after they've been fed. When I first got here you never saw them unless she was actually on the nest stuffing their faces. And here's the thing: I've never seen baby pigeons before. Like all birds, by the time they leave the nest they're the same size as their parents, so you don't spot them on the street. These guys are small and skinny and very baby-bird-like. The apartment dwellers whose balcony it is, I never see. But they've put newspaper on the balcony floor to catch the pigeon poop. They change the newspaper every day or so, but they never come out otherwise, so as, I guess, not to disturb the nest.

And finally, there's a white dove here, possibly a lost pet or escaped circus performer. He flies with the pigeons. Took up with the flock of gray rock doves, swoops around with them. He's looking to mate, and it could he's searching for a particular female and doesn't know where to find her, but for whatever reason, he keeps ending up in the lobby of our hotel. The doors are always open, and we're perched above the rooftops, so it could be considered a natural mistake, I guess, but it's one the actual pigeons, who grew up around here, never make. This guy flies in and lands, spreads his tail and starts doing the pigeon mating dance. Whoever's working at the desk jumps up and chases him out, and then that afternoon, or the next morning, he's back. Personally, I think he's in love with the chambermaid.

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