A true story about these dead leaves

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I was sitting in the car looking at these dead leaves across the street. I could not get out and go to work for five more minutes, at 9:30, or I might get a $50 parking ticket, because it was a “No stopping or standing 7:30 to 9:30” zone. They actually enforce that kind of shit around here.

I was looking at these leaves and they began to move, one here and some over there. I thought it was wind, but there was no wind. Two leaves here and three leaves there would flip over. I rolled down the window. I focused.

It was young robins. Two or three dozen, so perfectly color-coordinated that I could barely see them. They were lean with late winter. They had come back early, and they had found something – bugs? seeds? until those tannic oak and maple leaves.

Just then a car pulls up behind me. I see in the rearview mirror that it’s not the parking police, but this tall black guy who always parks his van behind me. Nice guy, we always talk a bit, he works somewhere in the bowels of the library.

I look across the street. The robins are all bunched together now, keeping their distance from a squirrel that has bounced down the tree. It makes these exaggerated Bob-Beamon jumps across the leaves, like it doesn’t want to get its feet wet. Then another squirrel follows, and they begin bounding like bunnies, and the robins are taking flight.

I get out of my car to take this picture, and the black guy says, “Where you going?”

“Look at that,” I gesture.

“What for? Ain’t no percentage in nature, bo.”

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