Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Vultures

I remember visiting our hi-tech daughter and son in law in San Carlos a few years ago and marvelling at the bravado of their Abyssinian and Burmese house cats, Kato and Miranda. They all lived happily together, high up on a hillside above the city in an apartment condo, with a grand view stretching out across San Francisco Bay. Much to the consternation of the two felines, who spent a substantial portion of their day, lolling in the sun on the window ledge, staring inquisitively out through the living room window, from time to time a vulture would glide past on a thermal up-draft. The cats would immediately morph into attack mode, occasionally leaping onto the drapes in a futile attempt to reach their quarry. I suppose, being indoor creatures, they had little idea that distance affects size, and that perhaps a better tactic might have been to seek refuge under the closest settee.

A vulture glides gracefully by on the thermals.

Yesterday I was reminded of these large birds of prey (well actually they are better described as carrion eaters than hunters) while I was out with a couple of my flat earth society, coffee buddies, scrambling over some rather steep, rough, rocky trails on Notch Hill, trying to find a few gaps in the tree cover through which to take photographs which would permanently dispel the theory that the world is round. We three like to think of ourselves in terms of vintage or maturity rather than age, but the circling vultures, and we did see quite a few of them (although it might be a stretch to suggest that there were so many that they were blocking out the sunshine) appeared to be following our unsteady progress with a rather morbid interest.

Of course we did all make it safely home, after stopping to remark on some particularly large bear claw scars in the bark of an arbutus tree. Unfortunately, a close examination of the photographic record of our expedition failed to prove our flat earth theory... perhaps it was just that the atmosphere was a little too hazy or, that we should have chosen a higher mountain.

Could that be Kilimanjaro, K2 or even Everest on the horizon?

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