On my way to work this morning, I saw a seagull dog-fighting with a Bald Eagle. It’s not the first time I’ve seen our national symbol flying over a suburban area, but it’s always a reminder that I’m not in L.A. anymore. And even being attacked by a gull, there is no bird as regal and majestic as a Bald Eagle.
My family and I are going on a cruise from Vancouver, BC to L.A. in September. I’m going to have one day in which I can see friends and take in as much Southern California as possible. Then we’re renting a minivan and road-tripping back to Washington. We’ve booked and paid for all our accommodations, so this trip is looking real, and we’re all getting excited for it. Today I realized another reason to be excited. Our first full day at sea will be September 19. What better place could there be to celebrate National Talk Like a Pirate Day than on the high seas?
Back when I was in high school, two of my friends from church were allowed to stay home by themselves when their parents went away for a weekend. The older of the two invited “a couple of friends” to the house. The afternoon before the gathering, he stopped in at the video store and, just out of curiosity, asked the clerk if he knew about any parties in the area that night. The clerk promptly handed him a flyer for a “rager” that was happening that night…at my friend’s house. Well, it doesn’t take a whole lot of pondering to figure out the rest of the story, including the police breaking up the party.
For the record, it really was a couple of friends and not me.
Anyway, this incident came to mind because of a dream I had last night. For some reason, I’d gotten permission from my in-laws to host a small gathering of my friends at their house in L.A. (Now, my in-laws don’t live in L.A., but it was their house and it was in L.A….I think…yes, it was in a part of L.A. that had geography similar to Cashmere, WA. Dreams are weird. In any case, the house belonged to my in-laws and it was in L.A.)
Anyway, as far as I can tell, this small gathering became something of a class (?) school (?) my life (?) reunion. Everyone was there, even a bunch of guys that tended to be more antagonists in junior high. With each new arrival, I recall asking my in-laws if they were okay with the size of the party. Naturally, they were.
Everyone brought their kids. The house and yard were both teeming with children, herds and herds of them, frolicking to and fro across the expansive lawn. Someone, I think a parent of one of my friends set up some kind of “generational discovery” (I don’t know) art project in a tent in the adjacent yard — I’m not sure where the mules that normally reside there disappeared to—and wonderful crafts were being produced.
Well, apparently a good time was being had by all because word had started getting out. The Los Angeles Dodgers showed up, soon followed by nameless local politicians, all being happily folded into the party.
But it wasn’t all perfect. Towering grey thunderheads were building on the horizon. The first distant bolt of lightning, so distant that the thunder didn’t reach us, prompted an orderly evacuation of the yard. With the guests safely inside, I watched as a funnel cloud materialized nearby. It never touched down, but once formed, it zoomed off past the house with a sound like a jet plane.
Then I woke up. A couple of hours later, I saw an eagle on my way to work.