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THE PIGEONS

 鸽子

by Rodney E.J. Chang

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We had two pigeons, in a small coop, on our back porch. The black and white female pedigree up residence first, having been captured under a rigged cardboard box at the Honolulu Zoo.

我们在后门廊的小鸡笼里养了两只鸽子。黑白相间的母鸽子是第一只住进来的,它是在檀香山动物园被操纵的纸箱捕获的。

 

It was all in fun during a picnic on the lawn on the zoo grounds. I wanted to show the next generation how as kids we merely used discarded items to catch birds. Just a cardboard box, a stick to prop one side up, some string to pull when a bird entered, and a piece of bread for bait made a successful trap. After they were amazed how the makeshift setup caught one – I let one of the boys pull the string, I was about to release the demo prisoner. But the children nagged to keep the stray as their prize, so we sneaked it home in the cardboard box.

这是在动物园的草地上野餐的所有乐趣了。我仅仅想向下一代展示一下我们作为孩子时是如何用废弃物品抓鸟的。只要一个纸板盒,一个棍子支撑着一边,一些细绳,当鸟进入时拉下,以及一块面包来作诱饵,使之成为一个成功的陷阱。他们惊奇地发现临时简易设置抓住了一个——我让一个男孩拉绳子,我正要释放用来演示囚犯。但孩子们唠叨着要保留他们的奖励,所以我们就把它放在纸板盒里偷偷溜回家了。

 

The bird was placed in a cramped rabbit cage that stood about three and a half feet high and rested on a two feet by two feet side. Our “Easter Bunny” had recently gone down that hole of no return, due to neglect after the holiday had passed. So the empty cage was available backyard accommodations for the pigeon. We had flipped the cage onto one end to make it higher than its intended horizontal layout. Now it better accommodated birds that preferred no perch higher up, rather than be afforded more floor space like for rabbits that were ground bound.

这只鸟被放置在一个狭小的兔笼子里,高大约三个半英尺,底面长两英尺宽两英尺。我们的复活节兔子由于节日过去后的忽视,最近从洞里钻出去再也没有回来了。所以后院的空笼子为鸽子提供了住处。我们将笼子翻了一面,使其高于它原本的平面布局。现在它可以更好的适应鸟喜欢栖息更高的地方,而不是像被地面束缚的兔子一样给予更多的地面空间。

 

With just the stray from the zoo in the cage, the children soon said it looked lonely and needed a “girlfriend.”

考虑到动物园和笼子的不同,孩子们很快就说它看起来很孤独,需要一个女朋友

 

When we made a trip to the local pet shop for koi food for the fish in the pound, the children spotted some caged pigeons at the rear of the store. I ended up paying for one. The over-the-hill looking “scrub” (common) with ruffled, white feathers emerging on its body, once a uniform brown (the kids nicknamed him “Grandpa”), now had a sleek, racing homer pigeon as his young cage mate.

当我们去当地的宠物店为在池塘里的锦鲤购买鱼食时,孩子们在商店后面发现了一些关在笼子里的鸽子。我最终买下了其中一个。年迈的鸽子看起来像被磨砂(普通)过一样有着折边,白色的羽毛出现在它的身上,曾经是一个统一的棕色(孩子们戏称其为爷爷),现在它有了一个光滑整洁的,年轻的信鸽作为它的笼中伴侣。

 

Disappointingly, the youthful female disliked the older male. The primped pedigree was downright nasty to the once homeless male. Every time he attempted to get close to her on the perch, she’d nip at him to beat it. No way was she subtle in telling the “old goat” to keep away from her away. Must have hurt, physically as well as emotionally. So the two slept each night at the extreme ends of the one wooden perch placed in the cage. No romance developed as the children had hoped. They got a lesson in rejection.

令人失望的是,年轻的母鸽子不喜欢年长的公鸽子。仔细精致的血统会被是曾经无家可归的雄性变得脏乱不堪。每一次他试图在栖木上接近她时,她啄他让他走开。她没有办法在告诉这个狡猾的老色鬼远离她。必须对他造成伤害,身体上以及情感上的。所以这两只鸽子每夜都睡在笼子里栖木的最远的两端。没有孩子们所希望的爱情的发生。他们得到了一个关于拒绝的教训。

 

After a few weeks, I conceded that there wouldn’t ever be any eggs to show the little ones what pigeon squabs look like. It was a family decision to give the birds their freedom, in order that they be afforded the opportunity to find their preferred mates in the wild. We figured the brow old-looking male would return to the zoo, just three miles away, and take up its previous life of merely competing for crumbs tossed by zoo visitors. I wasn’t about to buy a new pair, now felling fortunate not to find myself potentially saddled with a cage full of pigeons needing larger accommodations.

几周后,我承认永远不会有任何蛋给孩子们展示小鸽子是什么样子了。这是一个家庭的决定给这些鸟儿的自由,以便提供机会让他们在野外寻找他们喜欢的伴侣。我们认为棕色的雄性鸽子会回到只有三英里外的动物园,从事它以前只是为了争夺动物园的游客投掷的碎屑的生活,。我不打算买一对新的,现在我感觉很幸运,不用再背负着解决鸽子需要更大的住处的可能。

 

With the door unlatched and left wide open, out flew each bird, each in its own direction, until they both disappeared in the sky. It appeared that that would be the last time we’d see the pair, never becoming a couple. It was a solemn moment for the children, as the birds had become almost like house pet, due to the defensive flapping and pecking... The aggressive behavior kept the kids from developing the intimate relationship developed through cuddling or stroking, thereby converting animals into personal pets. But they had become familiar household creatures by just being around the house. So we took souvenir photos of them for the family pet album before the release.

门栓拉开,打开门,放飞每只鸟儿,每一只都有自己的方向,直到它们都消失在天空中。看来这将是我们最后一次看到这一对,尽管它们从来没有成为夫妻。这对于孩子们来说是一个严肃的时刻,鸟儿已经几乎成为像家庭宠物一样,因为防守性的扑啄……激进的行为让孩子们从发展亲密关系发展到拥抱或抚摸,从而将动物转化为个人的宠物。但是他们已经熟悉在房子周围的家庭生物。所以我们在释放它们前,为它们拍摄了纪念家庭宠物的照片专辑。

 

But after a few days, to our surprise, the pigeons came back after all, and together at that, to the elation of our three children, York, Travis, and Jessica. I felt satisfied that the passing on to the next generation of the marvel of homing pigeons had been accomplished. Lesson learned in the nature of pigeons and their innate homing instinct. Imagine wild things making the decision to return, only to be once again confined in a tiny cage, instead of remaining free in the wild. Yes, indeed, the children were amazed.

但几天后,令我们吃惊的是。最终鸽子一起回来了,给我们的三个孩子约克,特拉维斯,杰西卡带来了喜悦。我觉得满意因为信鸽们完成了传递了给下一代的奇迹。从中学到了鸽子的天性及其它们归巢的本能。想像野生动物决定返回,再次被关在一个小笼子里,而不是野外的自由。是的,事实上,孩子们非常惊讶。

 

Ah, the power of free food and water, I secretly thought to myself.

啊,免费的食物和水的力量,我暗自心想。

 

After that, the birds came and went as they pleased. Not like normal pigeons that quickly return after a spin around the sky, reenter their cage to gain some nourishment, then roost and care for the chicks. No, not this pair. We had to maintain an “open door policy” for this cage.

在那之后,鸟儿来了又去,因为他们高兴。不像正常的鸽子在天空盘旋后迅速回巢,获得一些营养,然后休息并照顾小鸟。不,不是这对。我们必须对这个笼子保持门户开放政策

 

These two, almost never home at night, behaved like delinquent teenagers. They were even once spotted gallivanting in a valley five miles away, surprising my wife as she drove out that way to market at Costco. We hadn’t seen them for over a week. Yet, that day when they were seen from the car, the birds once again arrived at home in the late afternoon. It was as if spotting my wife in the car had reminded them of “home”. After partaking of some food and water, once again the pair flew off to who knows where. These two pigeons were truly unusual independent types, rarely using the cramped cage to roost at night. Maybe they weren’t stupid after all. They had the best of both worlds. Come for the free meals, and then remain homeless but free by perching in these above the streets. Interestingly, as far as we know, the pair never joined a flock.

这两只晚上几乎从不回家,表现得像不良少年。他们甚至发现在五英里外的山谷里闲逛,我的妻子在驶出Costco市场时惊讶的发现的。我们有一个多星期没见过它们了。那天,当它们们从车里被发现,在下午晚些时候鸟儿又回到家里了。就好像在车里的我的妻子发现它们已经提醒它们的。摄取了一些食物和水后,两只鸟再次飞走到了无人知晓的地方。这两只鸽子是真正不寻常的独立的类型,晚上很少在狭小的笼子里栖息。也许他们并不愚蠢。他们有两全其美的方法。回家享用免费餐点,然后像无家可归但自由地栖息在这些街道之上。有趣的是,据我们所知,两只鸟从未加入鸟群。

 

We were proud that our daughter Jessica had just got selected to participate in her school’s afternoon “Story Telling & Oral Communications Class” for children in the gifted student program. The children had the assignment of sharing with the others about their pets. At the moment, the birds were all that a notch up from the koi that swam mindlessly in the pond. She had nothing else to select. Come to think about it, there were earthworms and cockroaches in the yard…

令我们感到自豪的女儿杰西卡刚被选中参加在她学校的下午参加的讲故事与口语交流类的有天赋的儿童学生课程。孩子们有作业是与他人分享他们的宠物的故事。目前,鸟儿们是唯一的选择除了池塘里盲目游的锦鲤。她没有别的选择。仔细想想,院子里只有蚯蚓和蟑螂

 

Our fourth grader informed us that she was keeping a record of the birds’ comings and goings to use it for her upcoming group presentation. But Jessica, right years of age, was having a difficult time in keeping a “journal” of her unreliable “pets.” Their homing schedule was unpredictable. She couldn’t draw a decent graph to predict their returns that she had hoped to share with the class. Many a day she would come home from school, hurry to the back of the house, only to be disappointed, once again finding the cage empty.

我们的四年级经验告诉我们,她要记录鸟儿的来去时间,为她即将到来的小组演讲准备。但杰西卡,只有几岁的年纪,对她不可靠的宠物非常难保持记录。它们自回家的时间表是不可预测的。她不能画曾希望与全班分享的一个像样的图来预测他们的返回时间。许多时候她从学校回家,快速奔向房子的后面,只感到失望,再一次发现笼子里是空的。

 

Our daughter asked us if we wanted to read what she already wrote.

我们的女儿询问我们是否想读一读她已经写好的。

 

“Sure, darling. I’d love to,” said her mother.

当然,亲爱的,我很乐意,她的妈妈回答。

 

I also dutifully read it to show interest in Jessica’s school activities. It turned out to be much more amazing than the predictability of avian homecomings. Here is what the eight year-old wrote:

我也忠实地开始读,表现出对杰西卡的学校活动的兴趣。它变成了比任何的预测更惊人的鸟类的归巢。下面是八岁的女儿写的:

 

We passed the next valley from our house. We are on the freeway, about seven miles from our house. We are stuck in morning traffic. I think we will be late for school.

我们从我们的房子通过下一个山谷。我们在高速公路上,距离我家大约7英里。我们在早晨交通中受阻。我认为我们上学要迟到了。

 

My brother York who is eleven is sitting in the back seat. Mom is dropping him off at his school first. It is about eight miles from our house. We have only one mile to go to get to York’s school. Then she will drive me to my school.

我哥哥约克,十一岁,坐在后座上。妈妈会先把他送到学校。它是离我家大约8英里。我们离约克的学校只有1英里了。然后她会送我去我的学校。

 

Our car is moving so slowly. Mom said she thinks there could be an accident somewhere in the front. York’s school starts before mine. He might be late for class. Maybe I will be late too.

我们的车正非常慢的移动。妈妈说,她认为在前面发生了事故。约克上课时间比我早。他应该上课迟到了。也许我也会迟到。

 

I am sitting in the front seat with my mother. My brother is in the back. Suddenly York said to us,

我和我的妈妈坐在前排座位上。我哥哥坐在后面。约克突然对我们说,

 

“I saw them!”

我看见他们了!

 

“Who?” asks Mom.

谁?””妈妈问。

 

“Our birds.”

我们的鸟。

 

“Now? That’s impossible, son. Stop joking around.”

现在?那是不可能的,儿子。不要在开玩笑了。

 

“No, I’m not joking.”

不,我不是在开玩笑。

 

“Where, which side of the car?” Mom asked.

哪里,在车的哪一边?妈妈问。

 

Mommy looked up at the sky, not watching where she is driving. Our car swayed as Mom tried to stay in the middle lane. But she was trying to look up out of her window at the sky too. Horns honked loudly. I got scared. Guess Mom was not staying too well in her lane.

妈妈抬头看向天空,而不是看着她开车的方向。我们的车在妈妈试图保持的中间车道上摇摆。但她试图从她的窗口也看向天空。喇叭大声鸣笛。我吓到了。猜想妈妈没有好好在她的车道上行驶。

 

“I never saw them this faraway from the house,” I said. I needed to be sure. I’m keeping records for my school project.

我从未见过过它们飞的离家这么远,我说,我需要肯定。我要为学校课程进行记录。

 

So I ask my brother, “Are you sure, York, that it’s not some other birds?”

所以我问我的哥哥,约克,你确定这不是其他一些鸟?

 

“Jessica, I am sure I’m not wrong,”

杰西卡,我非常确定我没搞错。

 

“How can you be so sure?” asked Mom. “Birds can alike when they’re way up in the sky and the sun is glaring in your eyes.” Mom still couldn’t see them because now she was watching the road more carefully.

你怎么能这么肯定?妈妈问。鸟类在天空中飞时和太阳光照在你眼中时它们看起来是很像的。妈妈还是没看到它们,因为她现在正在更仔细地看这条路。

 

“Because, Mom,” said York, “they’re right outside my window, just flying only about then feet away. Keeping up with our car.

因为,妈妈,约克说,它们就在我的窗外,只有几英尺远。跟着我们的车。

 

“And,” York added, “They’re looking right at me.” Now I also saw them so I waved. Then I saw them looking at me too.

而且,约克补充道,它们正在看我。现在我也看到它们了,所以我向它们挥手。然后我看见它们也看向了我。

 

We never did see those two again. But after that last encounter in the car, I suspect York and Jessica, from that day on, endeared that pigeons as “true” pets.

我们再也没有看见过他们俩。但是在最后看到它们的车里,我怀疑约克和杰西卡,从那天起,把这两只鸽子当做了真正的宠物。

 

 

Another story by Rodney E.J. Chang