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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Swoop and Glide…the Swallows Returned to the Valley…

March cloud study

Yesterday. Approximately 1:55 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time. Trending southwest, the bird was, its swooping and dipping flight distinct : no other bird flits about the heavens with such apparent delight. I saw three more in the course of the afternoon, all in the southwest sky doing aerobatics against the March clouds.

March is the Month of the Swallow here in the Valley. Some mystic message tells them the bugs have hatched and are adrift on the Valley air; the sky smorgasbord is set for them. I record each annual sighting on the calendar, and out of curiosity I gathered up calendars back to 2005. Please note I’m not a bona fide member of the Audubon Society, haven’t participated in the Backyard Bird Count, don’t tweet or twit to Tweeters. The following therefore are unofficial sightings:

2005--10: 05 a.m., March 8

2006--10:32 a.m., March 24

2007--12:50 p.m., March 12

2008--12:55 p.m, March 4

2oo9--11:10 a.m., March 21

2010—1:10 p.m, March 9

They will share the Valley with us until September. Then one day without saying a word, they’ll be gone .

This morning I see two swallows on patrol over the Sky Valley turf, both violet-greens, our earliest swept wing arrivers. Both are a’ wearin’ of the GREEN this morning. That’s my clever avian segue into today’s special date, March 17, Saint Patrick’s Day—the day everyone’s Irish. (But some, like me, are more Irish than others.)  And since my last post was a bit on the dark side, I’ll make amends with the following Irish joke:

“An Irishman walks into a Dublin pub, orders three pints of Guinness, and drinks them down, taking a sip from one, then a sip from the next, until they’re gone. He then orders three more. The bartender says, ‘You, know, they’d be less likely to go flat if you bought them one at a time.’

‘Yes,’ the man said, ‘I know, but I have two brothers, one in the States, the other in Australia. When we all went our separate ways, we promised each other that we’d all drink this way in memory of the days when we drank together. Each of these is for one of my brothers. The third is for me.’

The bartender is touched, and says, ‘What a great custom!’

The Irishman becomes a regular in the pub and always orders the same way. One day he comes in and orders two pints. The other regulars notice, and a silence falls over the pub. When he returns to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, ‘I’m very sorry. Please accept my condolences, pal.’

The Irishman says, ‘Oh, no, everyone’s fine. I just joined the Mormon Church, and I had to quit drinking.’”

from Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar

Now you’re either Dublin over with laughter or scratching your head. Whichever the case, it’s time to turn the corned beef and slice the cabbage. And in case you’re down on your luck in the Valley today, I’ll share some of yesterday’s Valley green with you.Yesterday's luck

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