I awoke this morning dreading going to work. Dreams from the pressure of work have started to haunt me again. I had shaken these feelings for a while, but now they are back. The pressure at work has grown to a point that I am behind in everything. The demands of participating in the development of a new college is more than I could have ever imagined. There is an intimacy of being part of a small college that did not exist when we were part of a larger entity. Now we are just one of three departments joined together and operate more as a family - mildly dysfunctional but familial nevertheless.
I awoke with the 9 a.m. meeting on my mind and wanted nothing more than to take a mental health day. What a laugh. One day would not have helped. So I decided to just be quiet, focus on the business at hand and hope for the best. The meeting turned out to be a positive experience. I left knowing what I needed to do and with luck I would have it finished in a couple of hours. Well, six hours later . . .
There is one me. I take care of 150 students, 27 faculty, the phones, anyone who walks through my office door, all the facilities planning, purchasing, bookkeeping, special projects, travel, mailings, publicity, recital programs, reports, class scheduling, recital hall schedulling, calendaring, advising matters, contracts, hiring. . . Six hours later, I completed (I HOPE) a simple two hour job. Lunch came and went. The Chair turned me loose an hour before closing. That turned into a great piece of luck.
My walk to the parking lot always offers up something of interest. Between the trees, lawns, lake, and sculpture, unexpected sounds and visions abound. I've seen foxes, heard the expansion of stainless steel with temperature changes, and hawks and owls diving for pray. But today I was served up an extra special treat.
The racket was so unexpected. A loud cacophony of bird shriek traveled toward me. A sweep of motion passed over my head. The whoop whoop of wings rode the waves of air and then as suddenly as they erupted into the sky, they resettled into the trees. The shrieking never stopped and the tree took on an unreal life. Then as quickly as they landed, they erupted again. The birds swept up and away in all directions and then disappeared. The quiet that followed was almost eerie.
Whatever had happened seemed to have passed and I tucked my camera away. But no sooner did I reach my car and the birds returned. Out came the camera again for one last attempt to catch the crazed swarm. I managed to actually get several pictures but these two have the most impact.
I did not know that birds swarmed. I googled swarming birds but did not immediately discover anything useful about bird behavior. Perhaps some of you out there are bird-watchers and can provide some insight into this odd behavior. The experience was somewhat Hitchcockian in effect but the results were not nearly so daunting.