corvi (corivax) wrote,

Four ways to the wind

(Day 11)
Kayaking, we see a hawk, perhaps a rough-legged hawk, gliding lazily in spirals over each island, broad sweeping wings slanted into the thermals. Its path traces a cycloid, which is the fancy name for the long flower-petaled helical parametric curve you'd get from a pendulum trailing sand.
The heads of cormorants poke above the water like periscopes. They don't have oiled or water-resistant feathers, so they soak up lots of water and ride low. When they want to take off, they run madly along the surface of the water, flapping crazily against the surface of the water, trying to get enough air under waterlogged wings. About half the time, they fail and slam back into the water like cannonballs, raising waves that draw quacks of protest from nearby ducks. When they finally get airborne, they drape themselves bonelessly over sun-warmed rocks, trying to dry off.
We also see arctic terns with backswept arched wings and forked tails. They spend summer in the arctic and winter in antarctica, and know more sunlight than any other animal and are very white, like the light soaked into them. They swoop and chase their tails over the mirror-smooth waters and snow-drenched mountains, and it's hard, watching them, to imagine that they fly for any reason other than the sheer joy of it.
gfish finds a bird skull in the water, about the length of my hand, with all the tiny lace-delicate spurs that support beak and eye sockets. A reminder of how beautiful flight is, and how necessary and fragile. Memento mori.

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