It’s 70 or 75 degrees (F), with the sun just hinting at its punishing intensity in the months to come. A cool breeze sweeps across the pad, stirring up the new dust that emerged from the once-vast fields of sucking mud.
I cleaned my room today, shaking out my Turkish-made/Kuwaiti distributed rug ($8 at your local AAFES Gift Shop) and sweeping out all the chunks of dried mud from the last week. There’s really little here to remind me that this is Iraq; it could be Ft Stewart or Ft Hood or Camp Ripley, except I’m wearing the wrong color of uniform. This morning I looked at the 50-inch flat-screen TVs sold at the PX, coated with a layer of fine desert dust; while inside, I glanced up to the building’s steel skeleton arching above and saw a familiar sight.
A barn swallow was flitting around the ceiling, chirping its little liquid call excitedly. The loading dock door was open so it must’ve flown in to check things out. It would seem it’s the same bird that buzzes suburban lawn mowers on buggy Minnesota summer days. The same bird that nests under the Bloomington Ferry Bridge (among thousands of others) near Shakopee; in the summer you can see them dive out of their mud nests and plow through the mostquito-thick air, scooping up the damn bugs with their gaping mouths.
*sigh* This has been an experience, to be sure, but it’s starting to wear thin. Thankfully, we’re on the downslope now.