Stratoz wrote a post about birds for me the other day and I promised to reciprocate, but I didn't quite get that far that day. Today, though, with two exams down and two to go over the next two days, I thought I'd take a very quick break, startng with his reflections on eleven years ago. I have no idea why he chose that number, but I guess I will, too.
Eleven years ago I would have most likely begun the day by driving my children, then ages 12, 12, and 9, to their Montessori school, where the boys were having one of the Best Sixth Grade Years ever experienced on the face of this planet with one of the Best Humanities Teachers who has ever taught, and the Lovely Daughter was spending most of fourth grade writing cat stories with her best friend. I would have spent the rest of the workday on my family law practice, about which I had some fond thoughts as I contemplated this entry earlier today. The last thing in the world I would have imagined eleven years ago was that I would spend this morning eleven years later writing three hours worth of essays on Old Testament prophets instead of in, say, a temporary support hearing with an angry woman, a hostile man, a combative opposing counsel, and a bored judge. How times do change.
But the birds ~ the supposed point of this little piece: in the summer of 1997 we took the kids and went off to the Tetons and Yellowstone with another family for one of the Best Vacation Trips Ever. I don't think there was a Best Bird on that trip, but there was a Best Birding interaction: that moment in which Chicago Son's Best Friend asked me, "What's that book?" about my field guide and embarked upon the decade that would lead to his graduation from Cornell last spring with a degree in ornithology. He's somewhere in South America now on some kind of bird project because we stood together in a field and watched birds and a coyote eleven years ago.
I see that when I wrote about that day in celebration of his graduation last spring, I used the word "Best" rather frequently! I'm thinking that 1987 was a very good year, filled with hope and promise. Both of our families have seen some tough times since then, but there was a day with a blue sky and a light breeze and trumpeter swans, a coyote, and a Clark's nutcracker.