Dec 5, 2008

Thousands of Birds in Flight

I paused my car the other day to stop and watch the passing of a massive conglomeration of dark-colored birds flying southwest across Monroe County. "Flock" simply does not capture the magnitude of this airborne horde, which traveled perhaps thousands of feet in the air, so high that their cries and shrieks were almost inaudible.

Unlike the fabled V-formation of geese, these birds did not assemble in a discernible pattern, though I was fascinated by the sudden jerky changes of direction upon which segments of the avian mass would break, only to return to the fluttering whole moments later.

Tempted though I am to play with some ideas about the stock market based upon studies of chaos theory and bird flock behavior, instead I prefer to relive the moment of standing in a frozen Ida Township cornfield and staring above at the winged patterns roiling across the sky.

I was alone and cold, but strangely transfixed by the tropospheric fractals whirling with the unpredictable movement of air masses and unknown forces that drove the flocking birds.

I allowed myself a brief moment of spinning in place while gazing upward, the kind of carefree activity dating back to childhood that adults are supposed to forgo in our pursuits of wealth and security. This was no moment of bold rejection of social conformity, though: there was probably no one within 1000 yards of my angular, bespectacled self, and frankly I am old enough that I might start passing as "colorful" instead of "deranged."



Middle Aged Woman said...

I've always found you colorful, Mike. And I've been wondering if anyone ever analyzed Ian Malcolm's chaos-theory-as-relates-to-the-stock-market from Jurassic Park.

historymike said...

(turns the color of crimson apples)

Interesting thought, MAW - I'd forgotten about the sly inclusion of chaos theory in Jurassic Park (which made a better book than movie).

Crichton, rest his soul, always stayed ahead of most folks with his ablity to comprehend cutting edge theories from a variety of fields. I especially enjoyed his inclusion of multiverse theory in Timeline, which utterly sucked as a film.