(A page from winter.)

So here's what happened today:

It was the annual bringing-the-little-men-their-pies day.

Let me explain.

Every year, once snow has fallen, Gretel and I walk on my school's golf course. The paths through the woods around my house are frequented by many dogs and people, and the snow gets tamped down to a slick, slick surface. I like to walk really fast, and it's hard to get a good grip on the icy walkway. So I go over to the golf course, which is wooded and quite beautiful (though full of evil fertilizer and chemicals), and pretty expansive -- I'm guessing between 800 and 1000 acres.

So, when the snow gets high, it's something of a work out, because the course is full of rolling hills, some steep ones, and you know, hills, dales, whatnot. I like to range to the farthest corner from my house, which means I walk for about an hour and a half all told -- though only when there's not a lot of snow. It takes longer when the snow is high because then I have to slog. (If it's really deep I resort to snow shoes, or even skies, but I prefer to walk. The rhythm suits my thoughts.)

So, anyway, here's where the pies come in.

The little men to whom I bring pies are not actually little, I just usually see them from far away. They are the groundsmen who care for the expensive (and rather scandalous for a state school) golf course, which the fat cat board of trustee members love to scamper about on, in the greener seasons.

When we moved into the house we now inhabit, from Pontiac, 6 years ago, and I started walking on the course, I discovered that sometimes the little men plow parts of the golf course. This makes for much easier walking! And less slippage when you want to get a good head of steam going. So, when I first discovered that they did this, I wanted to show them my gratitude and encourage them to continue to do it. So I brought them pies.

When I first appeared with baked goods and thrust said goods upon them, the little men seemed embarrassed by the offering (though I hoped, not to the point of losing their appetites). I thought, hmmm. Oh well, they think I'm weird.

But the next day when Gretel and I were walking on the course again, one of the little men flagged me down.

He asked me if I was the pie lady. Yes, I said. (Thinking, fuck, I'm a lady now -- at the time I hadn't even crossed the threshold of 40! I was crushed. Anyway.)

He said he had to tell me that a really weird thing had happened. He hadn't been at the groundskeepers’ warehouse-shed-thingy when I dropped off the pies the day before. He had been on a different part of campus with another groundskeeper, who had told the little man to whom I spoke that he, this man’s friend, had had a dream. In the dream, a woman in a white car drove up and brought them pies. (I drove a white car at the time.)

The man had that dream the night BEFORE I brought the pies, AND told this (little) man that he had had the dream BEFORE I brought the pies. Or at least that's what this man said.

He said, do you have a white car? I said yep. He shook his head and said, now that is weird.

So anyway, I bring them pies every year, and that's what I did today. No one mentioned any dreams when I dropped them off (though they're no longer embarrassed by the annual appearance of baked goods).

But when I was nearing home, just at the end of the course closest to my house, I saw a wonderful sight.

Two nebulae of birds, one a murder of crows, the other a flock of starlings, dancing together.

It was so beautiful, the black birds swooping and soaring, the two bird-species a-wing, their passage across the sky so graceful and joyous. And the two flocks danced me home, the starlings alighting in trees on my right, the crows on my left, settling in new trees, flying along with me, till I reached my house.

Really quite spectacular.

Crows I love especially. When the avian flu struck here, a few years ago, almost all our crows were wiped out. That summer they appeared in my dreams, night after night, and I was so worried -- the count was a mortality rate of over 95%, according to state wildlife studies. Happily they seem to have rebounded.

In fact, the farmer who runs the organic farm co-op I belong to HATES the crows, because they're so smart and eat his (and mine! hey!) melons. But they can have my melons. I think they're wonderful. They have moxie.

And that's my story about dreams and crows and pies and little men who tend the golf course.

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