Walking to the store. Five seagulls wheeling, like vultures, over the car lot by 82nd and Burnside. They stay there as I walk under and beyond them. Is there something on the ground that I can't see? Or just an arbitrary gathering spot? Two more seem to be thinking about joining them, but veer off south.
Intense joy suffuses me, along with a sly intimation of triumph. Today the washer and dryer are hooked up: the last daily system of the household is in place. I begin to feel we've pulled it off. One of the most difficult feats of war: retreat in the presence of the enemy. We're installed in the new house, and all systems are go, and I never interrupted either of my jobs, or even much of my daily writing routine. I feel like Joe Johnston must have felt, giving the Sherman the slip yet again, leaving the disgusted Northerners to discover, a day or two later, the emplacements of black-painted logs and scarecrow sentries that had been holding them back.
I walk into the store and buy celebratory ice cream. On my way back, a jaunty crow promenades along the mansard roof of a gas station, pitch black against the throbbing white sky. I give him a solemn salute. You and me, brother. Nobody gave either of us permission. We're not asking for it, either.