bunt sign

Monday, October 22, 2001

I left the TV off all day and thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet. No CNN means no anxious moments as the news crawls along the bottom of the screen. Will it get to the end of the sentence before they go to commercial? Or is this just another tease for a special interactive feature on CNN.com? It's just been too much lately, and I especially didn't want to hear any more about anthrax.

So when David dropped by this afternoon and told me that there was news, and it was news about anthrax, I got another dose of survivor guilt. Or maybe it's more the guilt of a person who's been following events so closely and can't stand to think he missed something. It'd be like missing General Hospital the day Luke and Laura finally get back together. On a slightly grander scale, of course.

We got to talking about the war, and the bombing, and the government, and I had to admit to him that I'm uncomfortable with giving my full, unconditional support to a policy that reminds me too much of the world the way it was when I was his age. "This is totally different," he assures me, and I agree. "We were attacked." Well, yes we were, and we have a right to defend ourselves.

The difference is that he has every confidence that the government knows exactly what it's doing. I want to feel that way, too, but I can't help having doubts. To me, in a way it'll always be 1968. I fight that notion as illogical and unproductive, but I can't completely erase it. So I watch the news, when I do watch it, with as much a critical eye as a patriotic heart. It's the curse of having lived through too much history.

I didn't recognize the strange bird that was hanging out in my fading birch tree when I got back from the post office this morning. Then I saw what it was doing. It was pecking at a branch with its beak, sliding backwards down toward the end of the branch with each bob of its head. This was obviously some kind of woodpecker, although it was sparrow-sized, and not big and brown like the Northern Flickers, which until now have been the only woodpeckers I'd seen around here.

The field guide wasn't much help, because the glare of the sun kept me from getting a good look at this creature. I think it was a Downy Woodpecker, but it could have been a small Hairy Woodpecker. Anyway, whether it was covered in down or hair (looked more like feathers to me), it was definitely a woodpecker, and a comical one at that.

It didn't seem to have any real interest in digging anything out of the wood as it pecked, and it appeared not to notice that it was slipping and sliding all over the tree. I don't know what it was in its previous life, but this was obviously its first day as a woodpecker.

sky full of buzzards

In another bird adventure today, the buzzards circled my house by the dozen this afternoon.
I never figured out why.

The Chronicle carrier got the message, finally. Not only did he not deliver today's paper (at the wrong end of the driveway), but all the ones he left since last week were gone when I took off on my errands this morning. Apparently he decided to pick them up, cut his losses, and move on. Good. Now all I have to do is wait and see if they try to bill me.

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