Bill Kirby

Online news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Kirby: Somebody forgot to tell dog about birds flying

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Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.

Video: Kirby's Augusta
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– Rainer Maria Rilke

This started out as a story about dogs.

Specifically why the youngest of my little white terriers cannot figure out that birds can fly.

We were out for her morning constitutional before church early Sunday when she discovered the neighborhood park full of birds hopping around.

Now here is the funny part. She tried to catch them.

She stretched the long leash with an aggressive, yapping ferocity that only stopped when the birds, without so much as a backward glance, took off, not really in much of a hurry, and sailed into nearby trees, or, and here is the frustrating part if you’re a terrier, simply flew 10 yards away and landed.

You can see that little dog brain thinking: “How do they do that?”

I started to explain the aerodynamics of flight to the dog, but then considered it unnecessary, because a dog that can’t remember that birds can fly probably won’t remember how they fly.

But now I’m thinking about birds, and I notice on this somewhat chilly March morning I hear birds chirping and whistling and calling all around me.

I see robins and cardinals and some little black sparrows that fly too fast for me to identify. And in looking up into the tree branches above my head, I notice the branches beginning to sprout the tiniest of little red buds. Elsewhere little yellow flowers are starting to pop.

Spring is almost here.

My terrier has tracked it down.

ANOTHER REMINDER: I will be presenting a program Wednesday at the Augusta Museum of History about our town and that final full year of the American Civil War – 1864. (I hope to reveal several secrets including the mystery of Gen. Sherman’s girlfriends – Ellen and/or Eleanor?).

Lunch can begin as early as 11:30 a.m.; the lecture runs from 12:30 to 1 p.m. The lectures are free to museum members and $3 for non-members; you should bring a lunch, and the museum will only be providing beverages. I might provide the door prize.

TODAY’S JOKE: Everett Fernandez shared this one. It seems after a particularly rough landing, an airline pilot was worried that the passengers might be irritated as they got off the plane.

Fortunately, he noticed, most simply hurried past him at the door, apparently grateful to be on the ground. Finally, everyone had
gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane.

“Young man,” she said, “do you mind if I ask a question?”

“Why, no,” said the pilot. ‘What is it?’

“Well,” the little old lady said, “did we land, or were we shot down?”


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