Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hitchcockian moment and other bad dreams

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.

11 comments:

miss*R said...

from the sounds of it - you must have thought you were right in the middle of the Hitchcock classic - how I remember watching that when I was little - very scary - ha! compared to today's movies....
your workload sounds just like that - a huge load for one person - no wonder you have dreams about it.
make sure you take time for you xoxo

hazzbuzz said...

Amazing pictures! Glad you found the time to take them, your job sounds like an impossible task for one person I must say.

Gemma said...

Sometimes birds move together as though they were one enitity. Swooping around here and there all together. You sound so busy at work....I think the birds were a welcome diversion.

Janet said...

I can't believe all you have to do at work!! I just kept reading more and more things and thinking this must be all but it kept going. How on earth do you manage all that?! I would be nuts by now!

I have seen birds swoop and swarm like that and it's very mesmerizing for me. I love watching birds fly about. Thank goodness you had your camera and caught these shots. I agree with Gemma that they were a welcome diversion on such a busy day.

bb said...

Great shots Annie - glad to hear the experience wasn't as daunting as it looks, though!

Sue said...

Your job sounds all consuming! That's bound to generate a high stress level.
I have seen birds swarm like this, but I have no clue why..
Always good to have the camera at the ready to capture such happenings!
:)

Star said...

Sorry your day was so hairy. I don't think I could live with that kind of stress on a daily basis. However, you indirectly gave me quite a laugh. I was reading along about all the tasks that have been laid at your feet and in both instances I missed the "i" in recital and had to go back. I'm glad you don't have to deal with those types of programs ;-)

It seems that a blessing was sent your way as you walked to your car, though. I'm so glad you were able to capture it to share with us. I'll be curious to see if anyone can help identify them in the comments.

paris parfait said...

Those photos are extraordinary! As for your work, I'm hoping things will settle down and you'll get some assistance - or another job! :) xo

Beth said...

Wow,,that is wild. But really,,it was a message from your friends here in Tennessee, wishing you had been here with us this week. Honestly, we thought about you alot and hope that one day soon you will "fly" down here to visit with us.
:)

Becca said...

Annie, your work week sounds a lot like mine lately. We're short staffed and I've been covering for two people in different deparments, as well as coping with office renovations and two days of having no "cubicle of my own!" I've been feeling like flying off screeching like one of your birds!

Hope things calm down for both of us! Wishing you peace...

AscenderRisesAbove said...

fascinating photos!!