And Now for a Word

Yesterday, I went down to Word on the Street, which is a big outdoor book festival downtown. There was a distinct chill in the air, making sure we were aware it was the first day of fall. I was grateful for the moments when the sun came out from behind the cloud, warming me through my jacket.

I wandered between the stalls, browsing for the most part. I stopped to speak with all the different Can-Lit magazines I could find. Walked away with a few samples. I was very tempted by the subscription deals they were offering, but I just couldn’t afford to take them up on it just now.

The most memorable moment, though, was late in the afternoon, when we caught sight of a falcon in a tree in front of one of the university buildings. I’ve only ever seen them on ‘display’, working with trainers or zookeepers. I couldn’t quite compute seeing a wild one in the middle of the city.

It was huge, body the size of a goose or a swan, with thick, feathered legs and a powerful body. It was busy eating, beak snapping down to grab a mouthful and pulling up, holding its meal in place with one foot, the creature’s entrails stretching taut for a moment before they snapped and the falcon swallowed his mouthful.

And on the ground below it, the urban literati stared up, phones and cameras clicking away.

“It swooped down and grabbed a squirrel.”

I turned to find another onlooker behind me. I gave a wry smile. “Watch out for your kids.”

“And your pets. I’m sure there are chihuahuas around here about the size of a squirrel.”

“Oh, you’re right. Yikes.”

I walked away, then, and moved on through the festival. The circle of gawkers determined to turn this powerful creature into a spectacle made me uncomfortable.

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