Enjoy as many of the holidays as the waning of the calendar may bring your way.

We shall return in the new year.

Penultimate Post

Time to travel a bit before the calendar turns another notch in our collective lives. I am off to Las Vegas in a few days for some time with a mini-quorum of my poker buddies. Will also be catching up with a lot of former poker media friends at the WPBT Winter Classic. All-in-all a week to ten days in the desert.

After Vegas I will not be immediately returning to the Berkeley apartment because a major remodeling process will begin while I am in Las Vegas; considering the holidays the entire project will take about a month and then I will be re-inhabiting a very upgraded living space. I have been packing and moving out for the last week or so; yet another opportunity to divest myself of accumulated stuff.

So after the time in the desert, I suspect I will return to the Bay area, check on the state of the construction in the apartment and then do some holiday visitations. Weather will be a big determining factor for where I will be mid-month, I really want to position myself for a clear view of the solstice lunar eclipse on the 21st.

Also my friends in Mt Shasta will be heading off to visit relatives and I am once again the house/cat-sitter designee. So at some point I will make the northern trek to Siskiyou County where I will remain until after the new year hath dawned on what I suspect will be a very fluid 2011.
photo: another NASA moon

A Black Ballet

I don't know what it was that day perhaps the blustery wind or the off-and-on rain. The Bay was churned an eerie pale green. But it was the crows that told me it was an out-of-the-ordinary day. I often see the flights of blackbirds playing between my windows and the nearby Bay. As many as a score soaring together or several pairs sometimes a foursome then two couplets. I had thought for several weeks that they were perching on the roof just two floors above me, why else would they heighten their flight as they approached my view, most times they simply flew around my tower.

A strong gust of wind pummeled the window drawing my sight up from the screen; six perhaps seven crows were being blown towards me. They all kilted their wings at the same moment and arched up to be carried just a few feet above the roof, had they stayed in that turn they would almost immediately reappear high above my view, but they did not. They must have landed on the roof deck, today would be the day to check for their presence.

Still staring out to the Bay suddenly three black flashes swooped through my view, they had perch on the roof's edge and then leapt off into the strong updraft along the buildings face. They plummeted mere feet from my window and then soaring upward yards further away. Another pair did the same but pulled out of their fall almost immediately and were for a moment suspended six feet in front of my eyes.

A had a few moments to language my awe when the final bird glided out in a long, slow arch straight towards the west. This final flyer raises a ruckus with sharp, piercing caws that seem to draw the other crows up as they formed a flight of five, then eight, then many birds. Several blocks from my view, halfway to the Bay there stands one lone group of pines taller than all the rest, the flight wheeled around tight around those trees and did not come out on the other side. Clearly, it was intermission.
art: "Crows in Flight" by Ron Jones