Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Dilemma

It's a Sunday and a pleasant cool morning. Alas, I have arrived at a point in life where sleeping much past 6:30 is a chore - but I do get to witness the birth of the day and so it's OK. After eating a bit of left over calzone and running a load of laundry, I headed out for a cup of brew at the Wake the Dead coffee shop. As I meandered back home, I saw this guy out in his cactus garden across from the Sac n Pac there at Sarah Dr and so I stopped to chat with him. He complained about his hoarse voice and allergies. I complimented his garden and then.rolled slowly down Ranch Road 12 toward home along the long iron fence of the cemetery. At the entrance there on the side of the road was a beautiful red shouldered hawk sitting on the railing seemingly unconcerned by my slow trek by. I turned in to see if I could get a closer look. Holy Crap - there was a whole show underway. A screech owl was on the ground with his wings outstretched guarding what looking like a small squirrel. The hawk was watching the owl - swooping off the railing toward the owl and then flapping furiously up to a nearby branch - the own growling and curling his wings around his head like a big fan. Mocking birds - the name - and there were about ten of them hooting and hollering, jumping around while heckling the entire affair. And here I was with no camera - 30 feet away from all of this and no camera. Dammit - I was torn. Should I sit here quietly and watch this fantastic spectacle play out and put it to my memory, or should I sneak home and back - a seven minute trip and capture the expressions on their faces for posterity's sake? It's like being the fourth guy in line at the register during an armed robbery and having left your Sig out in the car next to the driver's seat. You feel a little bit anxious, a little bit dumb, a little bit "shoulda woulda coulda". And then, from up the hill came a long line of bicyclers - all dressed to the nines with shiny helmets - fifteen or eighteen of them I think - all peddling up a storm. You could hear that high pitched race bike sound as they passed - almost a whistle. And back lit by the sun, long shadows ahead of the glistening racers - even the hawk looked up as they passed. And there it was - the opportunity to make the break. The owl flapped up off the ground and sailed away with squirrel in foot - one mocking bird chattering all the way - and it was over. The hawk was caught watching the racing team. He sat around for a bit longer, and then sailed across the street to the phone line. I took a sip from my coffee and went on home. Hmmm...I said, good thing it wasn't the hold up.

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