Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

how to win friends and influence vultures

Vulture, originally uploaded by gurdonark.


In many families I believe there is a variant of the family pep talk. The family pep talk runs along the lines of how other one is a hawk among pigeons or a pedigreed dog among hounds. or an eagle among turkeys. I'm sure many families lack any metaphoric self-identification, but I believe that the clannish instinct and fables about family go hand in hand.

I doubt that anyone's family motto is "You' are a a vulture, and the others are mere sparrows", although the phrase "You are a vulture and never forget that" has a nice ring to it.

Today I walked around Loy Lake, a city park built by workers during the Great Depression, in 1937, by men provided jobs in building improvements through the Civilian Conservation Corps, this pursuit being adjudged a superior solution over the alternative of letting families starve. My grandfather worked for the WPA, laying dynamite to run roads through oil fields.

I saw vulture circling above the lake. I could not see what they intended to scavenge. It is my observation that late on chilly Saturday afternoons they fly in formations of swooping magnificence that, if they were people, I would call a form of hobby rather than a pursuit of prey.

I love the loping soar of a black vulture in flight/ I will never be a birder, because I am so easily amused by the common vulture that I never need to go hunting for exotic cousins of the indigo bunting.

I'd like to think I'm like that about a lot of things in life. I like to think that I find what there is to find in what is about me, and easily within reach. I consider this a form of thrift of ideas. I prefer to think that I do not live among the dead, and that I allow the dead to bury their own.
But when I see a vulture soar, I must admit that I am not in perfect synchrony, but perhaps in near-perfect understanding.

I look at a scene in wihch vultures sit on bare trees with the moon in the background, and I feel as much at home as at any majestric waterfall or awe-inspriing mountain. Vultues are exotic constants, and they are in the main beneficial. All they know, though, is tha tthere is a time to fly, and a time to find things to scavenge


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