creatures of darkness, creatures of light

by johnwasneyheseltine


A pigeonnier is as circular as life itself with different levels and hundreds of boulins (niches) and an external ledge on the ancient exterior to protect nesting birds from predatory rodents, long known to be the only threat. The harmonious system provides a series of metaphors I have explored in some of my work as the 17th century building in question stands in my garden; I have often imagined the boulins as individuals, lives, families, homes, communities, even as spirits ascending. More obscurely perhaps, on other days the small dark chambers mirror the inner most workings of my mind, dreams, fears, even small tombs that echo with the sound of my severe tinnitus. Standing empty as they now do they can seem to represent emptiness, loss, time past or just solitude. But today, as sometimes happens when external worldly turmoil seems to mirror my own inner disquiet, this matrix suddenly seems to represent something different: the comfortable protective world the birds all knew so well has now been invaded in an unforeseen way. Owls have found a way in to terrorise and murder the native population and wipe out their simple routine forever. Once inside they cannot be dislodged, they are protected, they are frighteningly aggressive and anyway will always find a new ingress to the space they have now decided is their own territory. Try as we might to sympathise with the predators and their own needs, the cruelty of violence has won, the pigeons were powerless to resist the continuous onslaught so they all took take flight. All part of the natural order of birds I suppose, but not of humankind. I can only hope.