Starlings don’t flock; they swarm. I have said it before, but last week when I was driving home, they swarmed in such a strange manner that I had to make a note of it in my mind. I am stuck on I-80 driving home almost every evening. The traffic is so slow that I have the time to notice many things like the full moon and the flight of birds. On I-80 is a billboard for Bud Light and the Utah Jazz.
Sport is imposing order on what was chaos. – Anthony Starr
The Utah Jazz is Salt Lake’s professional basketball team. In our best year, we were in the finals against the Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan kicked our ass, but we took them to game seven to do it. It was a golden age for basketball. Karl Malone and John Stockton were young and still playing for us and we were there for that brief moment when basketball was about basketball. There was no talk of rape cases or haircuts. Charles Barkley was ridiculed for the kinds of temper tantrums that are commonplace now. I have no taste for the sport anymore.
Not every age is fit for childish sports. – Titus Maccius Plautus (254 BC – 184 BC)
Back to last Monday and the swarming starlings. I’ve said before that I’m an atheist that struggles with superstition, and this is one of those superstitious things that I find myself clinging to: the flight of birds. I was stuck in traffic, watching the full moon rise between the mountains, but the starlings to my right distracted me. They were swarming clockwise around the billboard for Bud Light and the Utah Jazz. I watched them fly around it three times before I had to move on with the slow traffic. I thought to myself, “I wonder if the Jazz are playing tonight.”
Nature is just enough; but men and women must comprehend and accept her suggestions. – Antoinette Brown Blackwell (1825 – 1921)
They were. I looked it up a couple of days later. They played the Boston Celtics. They lost phenomenally: 80 to 102. Did the starlings predict it? They were to my right, which is supposed to be a good omen. They flew clockwise around the billboard, which is supposed to be a good omen. They were starlings, my favorite bird, another good omen. Maybe they were just trying to tell me that I should drink more beer.