1. What words fit these birds?
I got very lucky in photographing these little birds late this afternoon. My camera really isn't up to this kind of photography, because when I zoom in I can't hold the camera steady enough, particularly as I start to lose the light. But I was able to crop photos that took in large chunks of this tree, cutting away (nearly) everything that didn't look like a bird.
But what kind of birds are they? My initial guess was some kind of warbler or verdin, but the coloring is all wrong. These "little brown jobs" (actually more olive gray than anything else) have no stripes or bars or eye rings or thick bills or extra long tails or spots or streaks or patches of bright color. That pretty much eliminates them from being sparrows or finches or warblers or swallows or flycatchers or nuthatches. My best guess is that they're either Plain Titmouse (plural titmice), their crests hardly showing, or else Bushtits. But I could be wrong! They're no more than about five inches long.
2. A Distorted Bid for Freedom
It occurred to me as I left work tonight that for many of us, freedom begins when the clock hits 5 PM, or some other arbitrary time, and we head for the exits to wherever it is that we spend the bulk of our waking lives, earning a living. We might watch the clock and go at the earliest possible moment, or we might stay late, voluntarily or otherwise. But eventually we know we're done for the day (or the night). We shut down, pack up, and head out. There's the door! Freedom is at hand!
But look at these doors as my camera sees them. Kind of odd, aren't they? Reflections and perspective do weird things sometimes. Do I really live in an Escher painting? Did Dr. Caligari make these doors? No matter. They look weird, but they still open to the world outside. No, wait. Actually, they don't. Both of these doors lead only to other doors. Oh no! Recursion! I work on Castrovalva!*
*Castrovalva was a world in the first Peter Davison (Fifth Doctor) serial on Doctor Who. Inspired by Escher, screenwriter Christopher Bidmead wrote a story in which the Master sets a trap for the Doctor: a town that folds in on itself, where you can go up and to the east to get to the lower level in the southwest. Good story! But I wouldn't want to live there.