All for the birds


    I was saddened to learn that a complaint has been made to the city of Malibu regarding the peacocks that have made their home on Point Dume — more particularly, those that have chosen to live in the tall eucalyptus trees adjacent to my property.

    At this time of the year, we who love these birds have learned to live with the mating calls that sometimes enliven the nights — I must confess that I, like most of my neighbors, actually enjoy hearing them call out to one another. It is also a time when these birds tend to wander from one flock to another. “Junior,” who sleeps on the power line in front of my house during the mating season, was one such bird who first arrived literally on my doorstep a couple of years ago. He and a darling little pheasant (both of whom were having a hard time gaining the acceptance of the other birds) would wander through the neighborhood and were thoroughly spoiled by the lucky people they chose to visit.

    Although I have lived in Malibu for the past 25 years, I bought my present home on Point Dume in 1993. This house was the first one I saw when I started looking for a place on this side of the Pacific Coast Highway. It was a beautiful spring day when, alone, I went to look at this property. I had been told that no one lived there at the time, and as I wandered behind the house, to enjoy the gorgeous view of the mountains, I startled a small flock of peacocks. It was pure magic, and so unexpected. I was entranced and lost my heart to them then and there. I had not even looked at the house — didn’t care a darn if it was falling down, because I knew I had to live there. I considered my happy discovery as a good omen, and I embraced it.

    I actually moved in later in the year, a month after a nasty experience with cancer surgery. I spent hours sitting outside, wrapped in a blanket, trying to sleep off the effects of the chemotherapy, at times full of dread at what was happening to me, but always reassured by the natural beauty which surrounded me, and those wonderful, beautiful birds, who lived their lives about me. It was pure enchantment, and I’m convinced the spell cast on me by these birds may very well have saved my life.

    My own personal feelings aside, however, perhaps we should be looking at the larger picture. Could it be that we are now faced with yet another loss to our Malibu way of life that has drawn so many of us to move here over the years? I remember a time when horse lovers could ride the many trails throughout Point Dume. A dear friend of mine intentionally purchased land and built a house on Dume Drive because one such horse trail ran by her property. She told me how privileged she felt to be able to watch these noble animals walk by her home. How little we see of this now, just as we look in vain for the small ranches that welcomed us to observe the rabbits, chickens, ducks, donkeys, what have you, that they maintained so lovingly, and that brought amazement and joy to the faces of our grandchildren. Remember the llamas on Wildlife Road?

    Very little remains of those gentle pleasures as tennis courts and pools proliferate, houses become fortress estates, and we are gradually becoming yet another wealthy suburb of greater Los Angeles. Yet it was Malibu’s rural ambience that brought so many of these later arrivals here — as I would venture to guess was the reason why the complainant who prompted me to write this letter felt drawn to Point Dume. We can be sure of one thing — where there is wildlife we have to learn to put up with a little noise. But isn’t it so much nicer than traffic horns and police sirens? And isn’t it so very important to try to hang onto the Malibu we love for as long as we possibly can — not just let it disappear in dribs and drabs as we grow old and our children move away. What about those other kids out there — what will they think of us when they realize the magic has been stolen from them?

    I dare to hope that the city will be as concerned as I and many others are to protect what remains of the original Malibu.

    Patricia K. Jordan