Thursday, July 30, 2009

Don't Fear The Reaper

I was conversing with The Lovely and Fabulous Tyler M. Davenport last night after dinner when the topic of general environmental awareness came up. By “environmental awareness” I don’t mean the necessity of caring for the earth, or the sense people have of global warming, the evils of Styrofoam, or gas mileage as it relates to the ozone layer; when I say “he is environmentally aware” I mean the person in question could tell you SOMETHING (ANYTHING!) in detail about the immediate environment he traversed on his one-block walk to the coffee shop.

It could be anything – how many cracks were in the sidewalk, a particularly large lump of gum stuck to a phone pole, what sort of tree drooped out over the road at the stop sign – that kind of thing. It’s like being “streetwise”, but in the suburbs.

Most people don’t have this skill. They go blazing by staring at a phone, an ipod, or their shoes and never notice what’s going on in the natural world around them. Not me though. Nope. I’m paying attention. I'm environmentally aware. This morning I was nearing my office, greenspace blazing by at 60mph when I slowed at a stoplight and noticed something interesting, and somewhat out-of-place, directly to my right.

It was two gigantic, black vultures, sitting primly on the freshly-mown, golfcourse-quality, green sward at the crosswalk. There was no sign of any sort of carrion, death, war, blood, or mayhem. The birds had no apparent injuries; they were just sitting back on their great, dark, macabre haunches, looking at each other calmly; as if waiting on the light to change. Anyone walking by on the sidewalk could easily have reached out and patted them on their ugly, naked heads.

Three thoughts immediately ran through my warped mind:
1. "I wonder if they’re going to mate” (which is definitely something I’d pop popcorn for)
2. “They’re waiting on a fat jogger to come lumbering by and keel over”
3. “I wonder if these are the two mythological vultures from our family’s oral history that purportedly laid Granddad and Beau on a stump for the sun to hatch.”

But, I think the real lesson here is simply this: you don’t have to fear the reaper.

Unless you’re jogging in Alpharetta.

No comments: