I could be found in that position almost every evening, usually with the TV on, from the time I was about five until I went away to college. My dad started bringing pencils and typing paper tablets home from the office so that I wouldn’t draw in the margins of books. I still have some of my very first drawings in an old book. They were of airplanes, dropping bombs.
You see what I was doing was illustrating the constant stories I told myself in my head. Sometimes I narrated the stories out loud. I was really good at sound effects. That’s how I entertained myself, that’s what you do when your brother and sister are already grown up and married. And you suck at sports. And you’re the wierd kid who says stuff in class that everyone makes fun of. Like in third or fourth grade when you proclaim that you’re writing a novel based on the life of Henry Sibley, Minnesota’s first governor. Or announce that you want to be an ornitholigist when you grow up. Or you pee in your pants in class or the girls beat you up on the way home from school because you’re always trying to kiss them. God I was a wierd kid.
Yesterday as I was leaving the Mountain’s house after retrieving my keys (thank god I left them there and not at the bar) I saw a pair of hawks surfing thermals in what must have been some fantastic arial foreplay. When I first saw them they were coming toward me single file in a high speed glide about a hundred yards apart. They found a thermal and started spiraling up on it now only a few feet separating them. Occasionally they would wheel and take swipes at each other and tumble through the air in a face to face stall, then with a single wing beat grab the updraft and resume the gracefull spiral. The third time they broke their glide to play, they went into a dive and picked up another updraft about a quarter of a mile away and started all over again. It looked to me like they were having a great time. It had to be foreplay.