Saturday, August 27, 2005

No Egrets

That, by the way, is not a typo in the title bar. I had a job the other day, way on the other side of town where I was supposed to meet with a fellow who was challenged with the English language. He had called from one of the car dealership service departments after finding out that Ford didn’t have a means of producing a key for anything older than 1997, that being when Ford started to keep such information readily available in their database. The service writer had my business card and translated from Spanish to English and so I was reasonably certain of the location, even considering that the vehicle I was to make keys for was in a very large and spacious park.

Upon arrival I started a slow drive through the small parking lots, making my way around the edge of the park at all the various small parking areas until I spotted the red 1995 Thunderbird all by itself with the driver side window down, the rain falling and nobody around. I had made good time and was there before the customer. I wasn’t about to start working on the vehicle without the customer being present and so I sat in my truck watching the light rain fall.

There were several soccer fields, all vacant save for a bunch of Egrets scattered across the wide expanse of freshly mowed green grass. The large white birds with their thin brown twig legs didn’t seem to mind the gray skies as they went about the daily ritual of eating bugs hidden in the grass.

I sat there waiting for my customer, looking at the time ticking off and getting mildly ticked off; wondering if they had stopped for lunch while I sat waiting. I began to notice that the entire field was covered with Egrets, one end to the other, scattered and yet almost in unison they were moving, meandering in similar fashion for they did not have marching orders, they all gravitated in the same direction. Their heads were all aimed in the same general direction with only a few exceptions, those taking wing and leaving the group only to land a few yards away and rejoin the procession. The thought occurred to me, perhaps they were reacting to the angle that the rain was falling, a way to minimize the discomfort by streamlining their bodies, kind of a natural efficiency of motion.

Fifteen minutes of watching birds walking will cause most “type A” folk’s blood pressure to rise slightly. I checked the time, walked around outside as the rain diminished and had turned into more of a mist than a rain. It was beautiful, the cloud hanging so low to the ground as to be part of it, all the while the Egrets slowly moving toward the end of the field where a small stand of trees defined the edge. I then took notice of the fact that there was not an endless supply of Egrets, there being a marked end to their group. Had I been driving by and not taken the time to observe them, this would have escaped my eye. They were disappearing into the stand of trees, like watching the last spectators at a sporting event as they funnel out of a stadium.

My customer finally arrived, claiming, in broken English, that traffic had been heavy. It was a weak excuse and he knew that I knew it. His wife sitting in the other seat still had a sack of fries in her hand. I made the key and finished the job in short order. When I was done I got back in my truck and glanced across the field before leaving. Only a few birds, out of the hundreds from earlier, could be seen. The time spent, almost an hour of down time normally would have chapped my attitude sorely; but, I have no Egrets.

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