Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Level One | Molly

This comes from Molly, the first Urban Land Scout in Chicago, and earns her a shiny new(ish) Level 1 badge.

I work on Navy Pier in Chicago every day. There are lots and lots of birds around the pier: Canadian Geese and seagulls of course, but I've also seen barn swallows, red-wing blackbirds, mallards, common sparrows, and a whole bunch of other "sea" birds I can't identify. A few weeks ago, it must have been dragonfly mating season and the air by the lakefront up and down the city would fill with hundreds, thousands of hovering dragonflies in the late afternoon. Watching from my office windows, I saw swallows nabbing these bugs half their size and having a protein packed meal.

In the winter, people ice fish off the pier. I once grabbed a fish on the walkway that was gasping and flopping. I thought it had been forgotten by the catcher. So I threw it back into the water. Turns out the fisherman was sitting in his idling car right across from me, smoking a cigarette and staying warm and letting the fish die slowly of asphyxiation. He yelled at me. I ignored him and went to work and kept smelling my life giving fishy hands on my way to the washroom.

Sometimes I get there before sunrise. All the geese are in flocks on the water, floating and drowsing and bobbing up and down until the sun comes out strong and wakes them up.

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