Thursday, February 17, 2011

Even Without Dinosaurs

The familial relationship between the great blue heron and the giant Pterodactyls of the Triassic period might be best described as a stuttering semi-transparent weed-choked track that weaves in and out of the available fossil record, but every time I see one of these birds gliding in for a landing images of the extinct winged monster begin thrashing about in my mind. I believe I have stitched together the pterodactyl images from the many glimpses of great blue that I have been lucky enough to experience. The GBH in flight is such a singularly amazing sight that I am not sure that associating it with reincarnated flying fossils adds significantly to its impact, but I suspect it does because everything is made more awesome by relating it to dinosaurs (especially giant winged dinosaurs).

I doubt that anyone who reads this blog would pause at the the use of words like “awesome” and “amazing” being used in describing the GBH. Some of you might subconsciously begin ranking birds in terms of awesomeness. I'm sure at least one of you is thinking “aye the GBH is a mighty bird, but she is no Harpie Eagle!” It might be difficult to measure the worth of comparing birds on the basis of their awesomeness, but any time spent discussing awesomeness is not time wasted. There are people who would dismiss the idea of an awesome moment observing a bird because, despite anything going on in the mind of the observer, a bird can be nothing more than “just a bird”. I imagine such people are too busy complaining about why a particular boy wonderstar did not sweep the Gramys last week to bother with reading this blog entry.

I am writing this entry perched on a giant rock overhanging the Potomac river. The constant movements of wildlife past my perch make up for the slightly uncomfortable seating arrangement I have subjected myself to.

Impossibly patterned wood ducks bob past on the olive-drab current. I try to count the seconds they remain submerged when they dive, but get too distracted by the teasing warmth of the sun to be confident of my timekeeping, My foot begins to fall asleep so I shift into a more reclined position.

On the island across from me I hear the crashings of a large beast through the leaves. I imagine it is a white-tailed deer (I've seen several of them today). The brown deer against the brown pre-spring carpet of leaves could be invisible in plain sight. My butt is getting cold against the rock so I shift to a more kneeling position.

Despite the fact that I am less than a dozen miles from downtown Washington DC I am almost alone. If I was farther than twenty feet from the trail I'm sure I would see far fewer than the couple-of-people-an-hour I'm seeing now. I wonder why it is not packed with hikers and general walking-about-looking-at-things people. The afternoon here promises to be lazy, and I would stay to observe the accuracy of my prediction if I did not have to catch a plane.

I like looking into the eyes of the few people I pass here. They do not typically look away to avert their gaze. I imagine they are out here to look at just about anything with those eyes. I believe they will have little use for the word “just” when describing what they see today.

Some of the eyes look lonely. I've come to believe that there is too much loneliness in the world of people today. Why would someone carrying about a set of searching lonely eyes come to a place where the sights are so insistent they obviate the need for searching, and a place where there are so few people?

Last night a very old wise person said to me: “Isolation is not necessarily the best solution to loneliness”.
Two flocks of honking geese have just flown over. I am glad for this time alone. I've spent too long with my leg jammed against a rock that it has started demanding my attention by poking me with needles and pins.

I can't help thinking that if these few hours are not the best solution to everything psychological that the best solutions must be really awesome; even without dinosaurs.


foodstylings said...

Nice perch! Wish I was there!

adult onset atheist said...

Carderock gorge. This whole long weekend promises to be spectacular there. You should go.

Jamie Gibbs said...

One of the places I like to go to really enjoy being human.

adult onset atheist said...

There is something resonantly wonderful in the time spent there. With a sprinkling of warm low angle sun it is almost hypnotic.