It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane!

It is a July morning, the only good time to sit outside when we are experiencing 100 and 100 plus temperatures. We sit out in our backyard sipping coffee. The breeze is pleasant, rustling the leaves in the burr oak above us. There is a bright, blue sky with fluffy, white clouds, drifting and shifting shape.

I have my binoculars close by, and my eyes scan the sky above our roof. My husband’s eyes are glued to the news on his Ipad.

Two people. Alike and not alike.

“Look! A Mississippi Kite!” I point at the soaring grey bird, it’s white head helping me identify it. My husband looks up briefly.

We both hear a far off engine noise. He taps and scrolls and says, “That is a Gulf Stream 4 private jet flying from Cabo San Lucas to Austin.” We look up and see the plane heading east. My husband has an app on his Ipad that shows a photo of the plane, the name of the plane, and the route it is taking.

“A White Egret…it is flying east too,” I declare, as I follow it with my binoculars.

“DC-9-15 (F) USA Jet Airlines heading from San Antonio to Detroit at 29,000 feet.” We watch it head north until the tree obscures our view.

Flying things in the sky. Alike. And not alike.

My eyes spot swallows flitting about up high. I can’t identify them.

“Boeing 737-79P. Southwest Airlines from Austin to Denver.”

A black chinned hummingbird zooms past us. As I follow it, I spot another Mississippi Kite. “Oh look, honey! Did you see it?”

“Yes, that was a Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage…a private prop plane…going from Houston to Ruidoso at 24,000 feet.”

I guess we see what we want to see sometimes…

*(Sky and plane photos by B. McCreary)

Pandemic Eyes

Sitting in my car, I observe the people in the parking lot. Some don’t put on their masks until they are at the store entrance. Others put on their masks before they get out of their cars. That is what I do. Turn off the ignition, grab my purse and car keys and put my mask on. I position it properly with both mouth and nose covered.

I peer over my mask at the other shoppers making sure we don’t get closer than 6 feet from each other, which is not always possible. Do I have to wait until the person looking at every brand and flavor of soup finishes and leaves before I can continue? The aisles are narrow. Usually I just pass them anyway, averting my head so I don’t breathe on them. I never really enjoyed shopping for food. Now, I hate it.

We are watching more t.v. now that we are staying home most of the time. I yell at the actors for not social distancing, something I would never do in the real world for fear of bodily harm in the form of some angry anti-masker coughing on me.

Technology is wonderful. We can stay connected via our phones and computers. However, participating in Zoom gatherings is very frustrating in that I cannot make direct eye contact with anyone. And I am tired of looking at my own expressions.

I find peace in being outdoors, but even the shape of certain flowers or seed heads remind me of pictures I have seen of the covid-19 virus.

Anything that is spherical with spikes, even a child’s rubber ball. Every part of life now seems to be through the lens of the pandemic. If you had told me a year ago that we would all be wearing masks, I wouldn’t have believed you. I wonder what our country will look like a year from now? Whether you are marching in the streets for justice or venturing out to work or caring for loved ones, please stay safe.

Cactus Flower
Firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella)

All photos by Betty McCreary