Guilty Pleasures

Yes, I was going to read all those important, profound books about neoliberalism. But then the temperature rose to 70°F, Sophie Hannah released a new novel, and I spent the whole day lying in the backyard with my Kindle and a bag of jellybeans.

It was extremely enjoyable but strangely exhausting.

Did you know, by the way, that when you see a huge flock of birds in the sky that almost covers it, there’s a name for that? It’s called a murmuration. How cool is that?

2 thoughts on “Guilty Pleasures”

  1. Yes except I refuse to call reading anything a guilty pleasure! Reading in my garden with bees buzzing and birds singing is excellent. I’m spending time with a series of non-profound books about a Scottish detective called Rebus. well enough written for me to keep going even though the lots are convoluted.
    And birds, I could go on all day about birds. A murmuration is a wonderful word for a huge aerial gathering of starlings, which come up from where they’ve spent the day dispersed and feeding all around the countryside or the city. They swarm for a while, swooping and swirling in fantastical coordinated formations, chattering to each other, then swoop down in their thousands to their night time roost.
    In Victorian England keen nature watchers conjured up dozens of collective nouns for different bird species, sadly a lot of the time this was so they could tell which bird they were shooting. But a murmuration of starlings is the most beautiful of these nouns, although a parliament of owls is rather good too!
    Do you still get wild turkeys in your area? One of the collective nouns for them is a posse.

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  2. I’ve found myself in the middle of a murmuration a few times. They’re majestic things. It was like being in the centre of one of those schools of fish that protect themselves from predators by gathering into tight schools, since small groups of birds would wind and twirl together within the greater, uncountable whole. I also remember feeling like I didn’t belong there and was sort of crashing a party or something special.

    I can give directions if you’d like to try, so long as you’re okay with crocodiles. A few snakes. Hordes of mosquitos. Leeches galore etc

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