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July 17th 2009

    This time some weeks ago there were nine little quail on the north side.  And there was one mother.  Her children had recently arrived.  They were fluffy, far too small and far too clumsy.  She looked at me then with an air of pride which I understood as nervous accomplishment.

    This morning I saw the mother.  She has many children that fly, and I gained from her the distinct impression that the flying phase of childhood contains a set of unanticipated problems.

    I imagine when you fist learn to fly, it becomes irresistible.  Any opportunity to leap into the air, charge at the long grass.  Better still if there are sufficient of you to create a dark cloud of movement. 

    It must have been a peaceful morning, because this behavior by young startled me to the point of shakiness.  It came so unexpectedly, that I thought my nerves had finally succumbed to the bacon I have been enjoying recently.

 

    Fortunately I was not alone.  This alarm was shared by a parent.  She leapt into the air and flew in the opposite direction, toward the safety of the vegetable garden.

    Conceivable her maneuver was to act as decoy.  Lead me astray.  But when she landed, she turned to look at me, and I would like to believe there was a shrug of apology in her shoulders.   Mustering dignity she walked elegantly by me toward the long grass, and I felt a great empathy for a mother of teenagers. 

    To her perhaps I am just an uglier quail, a misstep in the evolutionary tree.  This is a dangerous perception between two-legged creatures.  So it is as well her children are contrary. 

tim candler

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