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Starling Tag

I went for my Sunday walk today. I walked down the road towards the lake. The lake now has a darker color than I remember at the height of the summer. I wonder if the reason the lake gets darker as we get closer to winter is because the heat is leaving it. The heat of the summer sun in the middle of a July afternoon is slowly giving way to the ice that will come in a month or two. The ice will start slowly, at the edges. It will creep its way toward the middle of the lake as the sun's track through the sky gets lower and the North wind becomes more consistent.

I walked by the boathouse on the western edge of the lake. Is it built there so the teams of rowers who are out early in the morning can catch the morning sun? Will the sun warm the garage where they keep their thin sculls? I have seen laymen try and get into the sculls. They demonstrate neither the skill nor the strength to get into the boat. And if they can somehow manage themselves enough to get seated on the chair, they will flail around like a broken-winged bird while trying to get the oars in the water. Maybe that is why I can sit on the banks of the lake in the summer with the sun rising over the ruffled surface and watch the sculls dart their way through the water. I prefer to watch the single scull. The single soul out there competing for space on the lake with the loons. The loon with her eerie scream and the single scull with his silence drift through the flat lake at dawn.

As I made my way around the lake and back into town, I gazed at the awnings above the shops on the village square. Why did I never notice that each shop on the square had a different awning over the door? All different, yet all the same. The older ones have faded colors and thoughts of mold on the north facing side. The newer ones have bright colors in patterns that were designed on a computer screen.

I have my favorites. They are the awnings with classic primary colors and Old English script inviting me in for a cup of tea. I'll sit by the front window of that tea shop and stare out the window. My cup of tea will be too hot, so I will watch the starlings play their game of tag around the gazebo. Soon Mrs. Wright comes peg-legging through with her poodle on a leash. The poodle will scare the starlings who will take off as a group and reconvene at the other end of the grassy square. From there they will continue their game of tag. Is the same bird “it” this time around? Or do they completely start over?

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