"Have you ever seen birds having sex?" my old roommate asked me.
"Only duck-rape," I said. I used to live next to a duck pond, and in the spring it would get ugly.
"When birds have sex--consensual sex--they get really into it," Roomie said. "It's not like dogs that just hump. There's lots of flapping and squawking. It's a lot like people sex."
I miss Roomie sometimes.
And I thought of that conversation today, watching city pigeons. They live such a marginal existence--scrounging for trash, nesting where they can find a ledge or nook in the concrete, always running from people and dogs and cats, always fighting with the seagulls and crows. It's a rough life. Look at their feet; a city pigeon will more often than not be missing a toe or have an infection or some other deformity.
But there are always more pigeons. Somehow, up in those nooks and ledges, the pigeons are mating. Their lives are full of hunger, fear, and pain, and yet they find the time and the place for sex. Nor is it entirely unromantic; they have a courting ritual and both parents help to warm and guard the eggs. Pigeons huddle together in the cold, gray, hostile, nacho-crumbs-if-you're-lucky world, and they make love. Everywhere. All the time.
Is it a comfort for them? Is it just an instinctive drive? Do they merely scratch an itch, or do they feel pleasure? Do they feel love? Do they--in their limited, pigeony sort of way--forget the world for an instant?
It's endlessly inspiring to me that sex is everywhere. The best goddamn thing I know in the world, and it's happening under our feet and over our heads and all around us. In every crevice and corner of the world there's life, and where there's life there's sex. I can only hope and speculate that where there's sex there's pleasure. Maybe not explosive pleasure, maybe not exquisite sensuality--but even pigeons have to feel a little good when they fuck.
I may not always feel this way when I'm not having sex or I'm having crappy sex or my life in general is crappy, but I am living in a world of pleasure, and that's the most beautiful thing I can imagine.