Wednesday night we drove over the Agate Hall chimney to see the swifts swirl into it.
The Child was supremely Not Interested in some "stupid birds," and I felt like I was dragging him to Church or something. I was a little sad, actually, because even if he does believe in dark side of the Force, he doesn't believe in the everyday wonder of a flock's internal calendar. It's possible he was focused on getting a Halloween costume.
When we pulled into the Agate Hall parking lot about 7:10 (twenty minutes after sunset), we found the place filled with disappointed bird watchers. The swifts hadn't come for their Equinox roosting.
"Doesn't look good," a man said as he leaned against the hood of his car. "Even the falcon didn't show up, so he must know something." Normally, by this time a swirling funnel of swifts would be clicking and chirping in the sky.
Mark got out and blew soap bubbles for some kids. The Child stayed in the car, dressed in a newly purchased phantom costume and looking at movies on his mobile device.
I looked at the chimney for the peregrine falcon, but it wasn't in evidence. The only thing in the sky was a scattering of clouds and a waxing crescent moon. It felt like looking at a deserted temple ruin.
We got back in the car and drove home, concocting conspiracy theories to explain the missing flock: the dry summer meant no bugs for the swifts to eat; it was the Pope's visit; the U of O had secretly capped the chimney to keep the swifts from pooping on football players' uniforms; it was Xi Jinping's visit; it was sunspot activity; it was....