delithopia

Notes from the Waxhaws

Archive for August 2013

An auspicious morning

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Written by Jim

August 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Midsummer morning

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On the surface, there’s a certain sameness to these midsummer days in the Carolinas. Highs at, or near, 90 degrees…lows hovering around 70. If you’re not careful, it’s easy not to pay attention…to let the days slip by one after the other in a blur. So, I’ve been trying to be a bit more alert to the minor variations about the mean…and to take advantage of any outliers that may come along.

It was noticeably cooler this morning…66 degrees… with the sun just barely below the horizon. I sat on the porch with my cup of coffee, relishing this brief respite before the mercury started its inevitable climb towards 90. A vaporous mist mingling with the upper reaches of the pines…early-risers among the avian community already making known their territorial disputes. Suddenly, there was something in the air that I usually don’t hear around the neighborhood…sporadic chek-chek-cheks arising from the south. Soon after, I noticed a few dark birds flying at tree-top level…heading northward. Common Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula). In a few minutes, there were hundreds, if not thousands, of the birds passing overhead…some so close I could hear the muffled beating of wings.

Too early for migrations, they had probably woken up from their roost, and were headed somewhere in a northerly direction for breakfast…courtesy of some unsuspecting farmer. I wondered…was one of the birds the leader and instigator of this midsummer morning munchie run…and the rest merely followers, who had no better plans for the day…and decided to tag along? Or…did they all get some kind of directive implanted in their tiny little heads, to collectively…all-of-a-sudden-like…arise in unison from their night’s sleep to head off in a specific direction for victuals?

After about ten or fifteen minutes had passed…they were gone…except for the occasional straggler trying to catch up with the crowd. These poor souls were either very heavy sleepers…or just didn’t get the memo.

Written by Jim

August 4, 2013 at 10:30 am