Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Suicidal Birds

I have two "comp" days left from all the overtime I've put in at work (I used most of it to spend some time with my step-daughters earlier in the summer), so I am taking today and Thursday off. I will be teaching an introduction astronomy course at the local community college tonight and the accompanying lab on Thursday, so I figured I may as well take those two days this week to make sure I've got all my ducks in a row for the first class meeting. I've been teaching astronomy for about ten years now, and I really don't need a whole day to prepare. End result: I've essentially got the day off. Gotta love that. Since I'll be leaving work next week, it's use 'em or lose 'em.

It's a fine morning here in Arizona, so I thought this might be a good time to do a sense-building exercise similar to what I wrote about in an earlier post. We had a big thunderstorm last night (it's the tail end of monsoon season here), and there's still a lot of puffy cumulus clouds in the sky. As a result, there's a gentle breeze blowing, and while it's warm, it's not really hot yet. It's what I think of as a relaxing temperature. I took a walk barefoot to the mailbox, and instead of blistering hot concrete, it was electric-blanket warm. The little rocks blown onto our driveway from the desert landscaping are large enough to stick into the bottom of my feet, but small enough not to cause any real pain. Instead, they seem to just serve as a reminder that I am barefoot, in contact with the Earth for the first time in a long time. There's something about wearing shoes that says "work," "constraint," and "hurry" to me. I wonder if that's the real intent in making you wear shoes to work?

The clouds are filtering the sunlight so that you don't need sunglasses outside -- I'd almost forgotten what the world looked like when it isn't tinted cobalt by my UV-protected lenses. The range of color out here is amazing. Relaxing tan on the ground, vibrant green from the palm trees, soaring red from the flowers. Back inside, I walked back to my bedroom and looked out the big picture window that overlooks our pool. My wife worked hard last week while I was out of town to get the pool in shape (it's normally my job). It literally sparkles. The wind blows little ripples across the surface, transporting me back to my recent trip to Cape Canaveral. The carpet becomes sand between my toes. The breeze becomes the wind blowing inland fromt he sea. The ripples in the pool become the waves lapping onto the shore. The birds in the palm trees by the pool become the seagulls crying overhead. A bird swoops down from the tree...


Holy God, the idiot bird just killed himself on my window.

He flew smack in to the window, bounced back onto the ground, and kind of shook his head as if to clear it. He then slowly started leaning to the left, and just fell over dead! I'm not making this up. I now have a dead bird underneath my windowsill.

Geez, it's a good thing I don't believe in omens...

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