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Duel in the Sky

Yesterday morning I felt like I had been too lazy in the past few days. Well, not lazy-lazy, just too “sedentary”, parked in front of my Mac editing photographs. Yes, “sedentary” is the educated word for lazy, in case you were wondering. You can blame your “extra coating” on laziness or on your sedentary lifestyle. Anyway, I decided to go for my 5-miles-roundtrip walk: Home – Avenue C – Esplanade – Beach – Burnout – RAT Beach – Malaga Cove – Saint Francis Episcopal Church – Paseo de la Playa – Esplanade – Avenue C – Home.

I never get tired of this walk. Sometimes I run it, too. Anne-Claire runs it all the time, she actually runs further towards Lunada Bay because she won’t even bother going out to run 5 miles. The real reason I don’t run it that often is because I like to take my camera gear with me. Granted, I could hold my Fujifilm X100V in my hand and run (maybe I should do it!), but this is a walk where I love to have my zoom lens, too, and it’s harder to jog with 4 pounds in your hand (especially knowing that those four pounds cost about one grand per pound).

I never get tired of this walk. Even when I don’t see anything unusual, the usual is wonderful enough. Should I ever get tired of this, then getting tired of this will be the least of my problems.

The beach is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you gonna get. A Tasmanian Devil hanging out at the end of the trail, for instance.

By the way, if this is yours, he said he was sorry and he didn’t mean what he said, and he’s ready to come home and appreciate what he has. But he also said he’s not desperate and enjoying his time at the beach, he does not want to be taken back just out of pity. Don’t blame me I am just the messenger.

I panted and puffed up the Malaga Canyon trail, cursing my sedentary lifestyle: little did I know I was about to run into an acquaintance of mine, Falco the American Kestrel. I’m always happy to see Falco. He’s a David Bowie among birds of prey. Svelte [I love this word], stylish, sharp, unpredictable, he always impresses his friends. Falco is always eager to pick a fight: not so long ago I witness him challenge and chase a much bigger Red-Tailed Hawk, guilty of perching on Falco’s tree. Was it a particular tree? No, Falco owns all the treetops.

Yesterday Falco was managing his Kestrel’s business from the top of the Gazebo at Roessler Point. I know what you’re thinking: “You’ve got yourself a mighty fine Kestrel, sir!”. And yes I do, thank you very much.

Falco bid me a good day and he fluttered away in the worst possible direction. No wingy action shot this time either. You son of a gun Kestrel!

It was clearly a bird-oriented day because I got a glimpse of this angry fella as I was approaching St. Francis Church. You don’t want to mess with this one! Look at the frown on that little hummingbird’s face!

I was happily trotting home, satisfied with the amazing sights I had witnessed for far, when I spied a shadow in my upper peripheral vision. I looked to the sky, and behold! it was a double shadow. The Hawk and the Crow where dogfighting in the air. It was more than High Noon: it was a…

I recommend you look at these images while playing some Ennio Morricone music. Either the Titles theme, or “The Extasy of Gold” from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Crows and Hawks pursue their timeless fight in our skies every day, and we just stare at them, powerless and dumb, wondering why is that a thing, whether it’s more for fun or do they really mean to hurt each other. Is it a vendetta that’s been going on for millennia? Or is it a folkloristic rivalry, like the Jets and the Sharks of the moderns skies? Are these joint trainings involving suspicious allies? Do they know they are nothing but each-other’s double? Are they just jerks? All of the above?

The fate of this duel is not ours to know, and perhaps it’s not theirs to know either – could they even agree on who was the winner? Blissful birds, both persuaded the other is the enemy and the loser, by race and by tradition, like the ancient Greeks and Persians…

And that was a wrap for another fascinating morning in Sunny California. Time to get back on the saddle and go home and think about it all.

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