You know you are a Disney princess when you sing and birds land in your hands. Even Cinderella, long before marrying the prince and getting all the royal glory, had birds alight on her while she sang. Lesson learned from Disney stories: perfect lives end in cute little birds landing on you, and an early onset of bird perching signals many good things to come.
I realize this is not true for everyone. One of my best friends lives in mortal fear of most birds. But the story I am about to tell doesn’t involve the gross birds, the footless mangled pigeons of dubious ancestry that fill Parisian airspace. I am not talking about the manically devious crows that mar your picnics and who, on more than one occasion, I have watched unwrap crumbled Macdonalds bags in the Luxembourg gardens and remove burger bits with a dexterity that strikes fear in my heart. No, the birds I encountered yesterday where of the Disney fairy tale variety, colorful, friendly, and drawn in by perfect melodies.
I was walking home from the Hôtel de Ville last night when I paused in front of Notre Dame to listen to some street musicians. They were two boys, probably not much older than 17 who were basking up the attention of the crowd that was gathering in the twilight. One was playing a guitar to accompany his friend who was playing away at a hang. (What is a hang you say? I had to ask too. Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hang_(musical_instrument) ) I have seen people playing them before, but the music usually sounds like the type of thing that is piped through speakers beside a pool and you listen while drinking something that has a miniature umbrella stuck in the top. But this duo sounded entirely different. The perfect melody of the soft acoustic guitar and the tinkling harp/ bell sound of the hang drew me in. I was not the only one. After about 10 minutes, two brightly colored birds flew in out of nowhere and landed on the hang player’s head. He was as shocked as the rest of us, but continued laughing and playing while the birds fluttered back and forth from his head, shoulders, and instrument. We all waited for some owner to appear and take credit, then badger us for some coins, but no one came. Finally the birds started making the rounds of the audience, flittering from hand to hand, until drifting up towards the bell tower of Notre Dame to settle for the night. It was never resolved where the birds came from, or whether they belonged to anyone. But while they were there, they added perfect dashes of color and seemed to bless the perfection of the music by their mere presence.