I'll grant you that someone who's never been in Kansas ought not be surprised to find that he's not there. Still when you're sitting at your desk at work with a case of Guiness on your desk for a flavor pairing event sponsored by your office staff association it can be disorienting if you've lived in dry counties and on dry campuses most of your life (the county I'm in is not remotely dry but my last workplace was). The flavor pairing was a lot of fun. My co-worker Meira and I provided vegetarian shepherd's pie and Guiness draft. There was a lot of great food from pulled pork barbecue and Greek meatballs to honey flavored goat cheese and a Senegalese dish I never caught the name of. There were lots of different wines, our Guiness, some ginger beer, some good old fashioned midwest lager. I thought the most interesting pairing was homemade cherry cordial in a small dark chocolate cup. It was a good time and a long way from the last place.
It was crazy windy today. One of the windiest days I ever remember. Maybe not as strong as the wind that collapsed the revolving door at Hewitt but very strong. As I was getting ready to leave work I saw waves crashing on the island across the lagoon from the library (I love working at a place that has an island and a lagoon and crashing waves). I decided to drop my stuff off at the car and go for a walk along the lake shore. In addition to the wind, which was blowing south, southwest down the shore, the light was also amazing. The sun had dropped behind the campus buildings but you could still see the last rays out on the lake shining up the foam. When I took the path to the island behind the student center I could see the Chicago skyline shining in the setting sun. The wind was take-your-breath-away strong like standing in the de facto wind tunnel between Mohn and Ell at St. Olaf on the windiest days there. When the path turned north up the shore I almost couldn't keep going. The force was so much I thought it was going to blow me over a couple of times. When I made my way over to where the waves were rolling in and splashing against the rocks it felt like the spray was going to cut me. It was awesome.
Even so, the best part came as I was sail walking back to the car. There were a lot of gulls out in the middle of the lagoon where the water was fairly calm despite the wind because of the shelter from the island and the buildings to the north. I looked up and saw a gull almost hovering right over me. He had his wings bent in a little and was just gliding on the wind. It was like he was a kite some kid was playing with. At times it looked like he was trying to work his way upwind to the middle of the lagoon to join the other gulls. At other times it looked like he was just riding the wind for the fun of it. I hardly ever saw him beat his wings. He just floated on the wind riding the gusts, working down and in toward the other gulls. Then another big gust would pick him up and carry him back out and across water. Then he'd start gliding back. I hope he riding for the joy and excitement of that awesome wind because getting to the other gulls looked like it would have been really frustrating. Even so, it was so cool to watch him hit a point where he would just hover in one spot it seemed before swooping down and back. Praise God for the beauty of the world he has made.