Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One Step Up and Two Steps Back

Development Number Uno:  The pigeon guy is a hoot! 

I'm sitting in the parking lot of the gym with 20 minutes to spare before class, so I figure I'll pick up the phone and try Billy again.  This time, he picks up.

- Hello, Billy? 
- (cautiously) Yes...
- Hi. My name's Laurie and I live in Bellingham too.  I just read a book all about Pigeons, and it was so interesting that I wanted to find out more about it.  So I looked up pigeon racing in Whatcom County on the web and your name was in some of the articles...
- Oh.  Yes?
- So I was calling to see if I could come out and check out your set-up in person, just to see what it all looks like.
- Oh.
- Do you do that sort of thing?
- Well, yes, I guess so.  Yes.  I do.  And where are you exactly? 
- I'm in town.
- Can you have pigeons there?
- I think so... I've got chickens, so I don't see why not.
- Oh.  Well.   I guess I could show you around a bit.  Sure.  I know somebody who's got 'em out near Yeager's - best racer in the state - so I guess you probably can too and... Are you familiar with pigeon racing around here?
- Well, no.  Not really.
- OK.  So I can tell you a little bit right now.
(And here's where the pigeon-enthusiasm really ramped up.  I didn't have to say a word for the next ten minutes...)
    Did you know that we're part of a Concourse that stretches from here down to Tacoma?  No?  Yes.  Let's see: It's Seattle, two clubs in Tacoma, Mt. Vernon - Arlington really, Snohomish, and of course here...
     And, see, we've got an 'old bird' and a 'young bird' season and all the clubs in our Concourse paid for a Release Truck and we've got GPS bands for our birds that we put on before the race, and then the Liberator drives the Release Truck out to the Release Site - maybe it's 90 miles or up to 600 miles! away - and then the Liberator makes sure the conditions are good and then let's 'em go and then we wait for 'em. 
     My young birds came in first one time in the whole Concourse - 90 mile race and they were goin' 75 miles an hour!  Amazing!  And they didn't even want to stop! They just circled and circled above my house, didn't even want to come down!  It's really a sight to see, them circling and circling, just wanting even more...
     And you know, if you held one of these birds up against a regular pigeon, well, they're like a marathon runner.  Streamlined.  Made of muscle.  Just not the same.  You'd feel it right away...
     And we're getting the the young kids into it now too; did you go to the county fair this year?  No?  Well, our new 4H kids had a great exhibit, you know?  Did a terrific job.
    Takes some time, though, this sport: You gotta fly 'em once, twice a day.  So it's a commitment, but the kids really seem to like it...
     And, by the way, if you decide you want to give it a try, we could probably get you started with a couple of birds for free, no problem...

And so flew the fastest - and most exhuberant - 'conversation' of my week.
I smell another fabulously eccentric Whatcom County experience on the wind...

Development Numero Dos:  Map it!

     After less than a week, I can see where this experiment is currently leading: toward kismet-driven connections among a wider and wider circle of fascinating people I would never otherwise have met.  So I'm thinking that some sort of map would help us track our experiment here.  (This idea occurred to me while in relaxation pose at the end of my Bodyflow class.  Luckily, I've taken to carrying my journal with me, plus scrap paper to catch such whims before they vanish, so I got it down as soon as I sat up.  Yay! A sure sign that I'm a writer again after years focused on other people's writing.)

So. I've backed up to get some perspective.  My two next steps:  
1.  Figure out how to make an interactive map.
2.  Figure out a strategy for reading The Compassionate Instinct for book group.  It's a compilation of some 30+ articles on the subject... Should I read from cover to cover, trying to get to all of it, or should I bop around from interest to interest and perhaps read fewer articles but take notes so we have more to talk about? (Did I just answer my own question?  What do you think?  Tell me!)


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