This heatwave we are experiencing showed me that animals like to have fun, just like we do. Some things I saw were almost human-like.
I was on my way home from work one day, and as I approached an overpass, I could feel the added heat coming from the four-lane highway below. Even inside my car, it felt like I was passing through an oven. That is when I saw the hawk.
It looked like a young bird. It was floating with almost no flap of its wings. As it came across one of the double lanes of the highway, there must have been thermals coming from the pavement creating an updraft. The hawk climbed while holding his wings still. Then he came to the grassy area between the two sets of traffic, and he started floating downward.
Once he floated nearer the second set of highways, he started to climb again, with hardly a flicker of his wing. Once he soared over the second set of lanes, he arched his wings, turning to head back across the freeway again.
I had slowed down to watch this beautiful display of graceful, floating flight, and I realized the traffic behind me was getting annoyed. I sped up but kept my eye on the bird for as long as I could. He was obviously enjoying himself.
When I got home, our two golden retrievers came to greet me. Both were soaking wet. We have a large, fenced yard for them, but they have found many avenues of escape as the heat has increased. They make their way to our pond and go for a swim.
I have created a pool in our backyard that they can lay in, and they often do. But with the additional heat, they apparently want to totally submerse themselves. I can’t say I blame them. When I have found them swimming, the ecstasy on their faces showed how much fun they were having.
Sometime later, I was heading home from a town about twenty minutes away. I had just helped a friend pour cement for his house, and the sweat was dripping from me. I suppose that is why my eyes were drawn to a herd of cows all standing in a pond. They looked like they were in a huddle, discussing global warming and their contribution of methane gas to the cause. Some cows, with water halfway to their backs, stood there as if half asleep.
But the event I saw that made me smile the most was a flock of birds. I had just gone past a house that had a sprinkler going. The children were taking turns running through the water, after which they would all laugh as the person shivered.
I smiled at the fun they were having. I hadn’t driven very far when a bird swooped so close to my car that I nearly hit it. I turned to see where it went, and it flew through a sprinkler in a field. The sprinkler was stuck, and instead of turning as it put out a pulse of water, this one stayed in one place, and the water sprayed in a wide fountain.
I slowed and finally stopped to watch the birds. The bird that flew through the water landed with a group of birds on the other side of the sprinkler. The birds all twittered as the bird fluffed its wings, sending droplets across the other birds. Soon another bird took to flight, swooped around, and came through the water, landing and spraying water on the other birds, all to their delight. I watched this for a while and thought about how much it was like the children.
As I finally drove on, I laughed at how animals can have fun on a hot day, just like we can.