Monday, September 25, 2006

I think I missed the point, but who cares

It was awesome.

Every year in Portland thousands of Vaux Swift's arrive for about 3 weeks and call the chimney at a local school home. We are not talking 100 birds, but thousands of little swifts on their migratory trek.

And being Portland, this has become an annual community event. Last night was the first time that I was able to get to it and it was so cool. Jen, Shannon and I arrived at around 7, parked and walked to the school. Most folks were already happily camped out on the side of a super steep hill with their blankets, picnics, babies and dogs . Talking, chilling, just waiting.

Then the birds began to come. They would swirl, dive, glide and eventually all join a large cloud of birds in a ballet of motion circling the chimney. And then in one mass movement they focused the cloud homeward and began a mass exodus from the sky into the warmth of the chimney. Yea, it was cool.

But that was not at all the best part.

On the side of the steep, steep hill, kids in the know brought pieces of cardboard and were sliding down on their corrugated sleds. There were probably 50 kids of all ages doing this in a mosh. It was not "video games" as Strong Bad would say. It was so Old Skool. It was not marketed with special action figures or sponsored by Disney. Just kids + card board + hill = good time. And I kept getting distracted from the mystery of nature by the wonder of childhood. I can still hear the giggles echoing from the hill. That many children laughing has an almost wildlife biology quality to it. I told the girls that the noises the kids were making were almost like the sounds of a flock of happy birds. Such a pretty sound.

The birds are supposed to be there again tonight. So let me know if any of you have some extra cardboard and want to head over with me.

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