Yesterday we had a pretty intense storm blow through our neck of the woods.
Mayberry (and area) is really windy on a good day, but in a storm, it’s like walking through a hurricane. I have experienced that strange sensation of walking through a stubble field at practically a 90 degree angle into the wind, where every time I lift a foot to take a step it gets blown a few inches in any given direction. Where if I jump, I am liable to land a foot away. Where a windbreaker is not so much a break as a harness, like a sail and I’m the boat and the course is all shot to hell. Iceberg dead ahead.
That kind of wind.
Yesterday was one of those days.
And as I was driving my lengthy commute to my summer school class, I witnessed something I have never before seen, nor ever imagined I would see, as a product of said wind. It was an extraordinary sight to behold…
…So there I was, driving along the highway in the middle of the flat prairie landscape typical to Southern Alberta.
Conscious and courteous driver that I am, I was taking the time to observe my surroundings while jamming to some classic Shins tunes: no cars ahead of me…no cars behind me…no deer in the ditches…
…but wait! What’s that?!
There, about 50 yards ahead of me on the right side of the highway, high in the sky near the power line, was a bird. A large-ish sort of bird, with its wings outstretched, but it wasn’t flying—
IT WAS HOVERING. Like a helicopter—no, like a HOVERCRAFT. Perfectly motionless. Wings sprawled like it was preparing for a nice glide. But no movement (aside from the occasional flap)…and the bird was staying in the exact same spot in the air.
I slowed down so I could take a better look, because I wasn’t sure I was seeing right. Surely that bird couldn’t just be HOVERING…it must have been tangled up in a wire up there.
I was just getting ready to call animal control (yeah right, I’m not that much of a lover) when I got a wee bit closer and saw, to my disbelief, that no wires, no cables, neither cords nor ropes nor nets were responsible for the bird’s incredible stasis.
He was playing a game.
That rascally little bird was holding his wings out perfectly still—no flapping at all—and facing into the gale-force wind, letting the intrinsic laws of the universe do all the work.
It was insane. And totally enviable. I bet birds just love windy days in Southern Alberta. I bet they have Bird Olympics, competitions to see who can hover longest without needing a little flap.
And now, since I suspect my storytelling abilities might possibly not convey the magnitude of the spectacle I witnessed yesterday, I will turn to my sketching skills to make up the slack. (As if.)
I present to you…the masterpiece of the century…
(2010): ink on looseleaf
I wish I was aerodynamic.