I stepped outside this morning as a kite flew low over the house. Another parted the air above my head as I left the car to call at the little shop and two more swooped down as I unlocked the door coming home. Tribes of sparrows flocked everywhere, enjoying the rich pickings of newly turned earth in the fields as I walked the dog this morning and a murmuration of starlings swirled through the mist casting strange and unearthly shadows …and even I don’t have the camera in my hand all the time…
“Are there always this many birds about?” my son had asked yesterday in some confusion, as yet another murder of crows had risen from the road and a charm of magpies seven strong had joined a further four at the roadside. To be fair, their numbers were impressive and we simply could not help but take note of their presence. “The AAQ’s well up today,” I replied.
I caught the glance between my sons; “AAQ?”
“Avian Activity Quotient.” Blank stares. “Stu and I use the term for all the birds that show up when we are out researching for the books.”
“You mean, you made it up.” Well, sort of…not the birds, just the acronym… and? “You two are weird.” This is not said with any insult implied, just an observation made many times before. I noted the twitching corners of mouths that were not, apparently laughing. Not at all. I dutifully agree with their character assessment, they would expect nothing less after all, and I explain. I tell them about all the birds that show up far too conveniently when anything is afoot, in a manner too synchronous to ignore.
“It is just,“ I finish loftily, “based on an observation of reality.”
“Your reality is weird,” says one.
“You make reality up as you go along,” says the other.
It needed a long answer or none… and the only branches of physics they were interested in as we approached the airfield were gravity and aerodynamics. Neither metaphysics nor philosophy would have been appropriate at that moment either. Maybe I should get them Gary’s book, The Last Observer for Christmas?
I settled instead for a smile that better suited the mood of the moment, while they discussed my levels of sanity between them in a way that any observer would have thought gave real cause for concern.
But it wasn’t such a far-fetched premise as the laughter implied. The creation of our reality by observation and our perception of the observed, is an interesting subject… but not one that can be addressed at such light hearted moments. Perhaps that ties in with their own weird idea that I am both omniscient and omnipotent as a Mum… his ‘own personal Wiki’ according to one of them and, apparently, a weather mage to boot if their comments on the heavy fog and clouds were anything to go by, “Can’t you do something about it?”
There were a lot of people there yesterday who were willing the leaden skies to clear and even I had to wonder how much such a combined and focussed will to observe blue skies might affect the moisture laden air.
“I’m working on it,” I laughed…. and my sons looked at me with deep suspicion as the clouds parted to reveal blue skies.