Sunday, February 21, 2010

'S Ioma' Rud a Chunna Mi

Last week I saw a couple of things which I found peculiarly memorable. The first was a bird, or rather, two birds, which were hunting over the park. I never got close enough for a clear look at them--the closest was scouring a meadow a good two hundred yards from where I was standing--and I don't know that it would have done much good if I had. They were definitely birds of prey, but not of a type I was familiar with, appearing almost entirely white (from my distance), with black wingtips.

The one I had in sight the longest would circle for a while above the meadow, languidly, as though he had never had the need to do any serious flying in his life. When he spotted something of interest in the grass below him, however, the languor exploded into a flurry of white feathers as he hovered frenetically over the site where his next meal might be scurrying about. Having ascertained the location of breakfast, he would drop a graceful twenty feet or so, and hover again, an indistinct, though frantic flicker of white, like a cloud of apple blossoms caught up in a whirlwind. Sometimes the closer look told him that breakfast wasn't worth the trouble after all (or that breakfast had gone scurrying off into its little breakfast-burrow) and he would return to the heights. Once, however, he seemed to catch a glimpse of something worth his trouble. He folded his wings and dropped, a keen, deadly, hurtling weight, the point of an arrow nearing its target. His dive, however, was in vain, and for a time he appeared ungainly, far out of his element, as he struggled to take to the air again.

After some time the second hawk, which had been hunting beyond the trees, reappeared, and the pair settled momentarily in the top of a very tall oak. For perhaps thirty seconds, they were very picturesque, even regal, gazing distantly at the world spread below them. One thing their sharp eyes apparently missed, however, was a very indignant red-shouldered hawk, an impressive bird in its own right, but only two thirds the size of either of those seated in the oak, at best. It came boiling up from somewhere in the trees and appeared suddenly at their feet. You might guess the altercation would be a short one, given the odds, and it was. The two larger birds endured a dive or two from the outraged hawk, then took off for calmer skies. The scrappy victor settled onto their vacated perch with an affronted shrug or two, then seeing his domain unchallenged, he decided that he didn't need that particular vantage after all, and went off to find a better one.
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The second thing I saw was in a more mundane setting, which made it all the more grand. I was walking across the parking lot at Target when I saw a man, dressed to the nines in a splendid suit and tie. He was a very distinguished, professional-looking gentleman, old enough to know better than to ride the shopping cart like a scooter. Which is what he was doing, and doing it quite well, with a good deal of gusto and a wonderful lack of self-consciousness.

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