There and Back Again

A nice trip down to the Valley over the last couple days, with the driving the usual mix of enthusiastic incompetence and frenzied insanity.  Toward the end of the trip back, as I approached the beltway, a rather vigorous band of thunderstorms arose in front, and I had to fight my way through them, laughing patronizingly at those weaker drivers who hauled out at the side of the road until the worst of the downpour had eased.  I believe that you don’t gain much by pulling aside, as you’re not any more visible to oncoming drivers on the shoulder (so you’re less likely to hit anybody, but someone else is more likely to hit you..) and invariably the downpour changes to only a spattering of rain just a few hundred feet further on.  There are risks, of course, but then there are risks to anything up to and including sticking your face in a fan.

The trip itself had its pleasant moments – sitting on the front porch in the early morning, I was a bit startled to see 2 large black birds that at first glance I thought might be odd-flying Black Vultures, but immediately saw were in fact Ravens, being chivvied by a Crow.  Nice ironical touch, and to add the final detail, the rear Raven (who was receiving the Crow’s attentions) gave several plaintive croaks as they passed overhead and out of sight.  I hadn’t realized that Ravens were found in the relative lowlands of the Shenandoah Valley, but there it is.  Then, towards the end of the drive, as I left the Beltway on the southeastern corner of The Jewel Of The Patapsaco [sic], a couple of large-ish herons came flying across the off-ramp through the gathering dusk, and I realized that they were Black-crowned Night Herons, which I hadn’t seen in some years, on their way to their harbor hunting areas.   And so, to bed.


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