He looked down at me from the trees over his long heavy bill. His iridescent blue, bronze feathers shimmered in the suns glow as they lay smoothly on his slender frame. He blinked his round black dotted white eyes slowly and cocked his head to the side. He appeared to be sizing something up. I had decided to eat outside in the crisp, breezy, fresh air. The sound of our old rusty tin can wind chimes sang its way to my ears and merged with the sound of me crunching granola from my cereal bowl. The morning birds perched with silent indifference among a smattering of leaves still hanging from the trees following the last cold snap. The Grackle above was probably up well before me collecting his wormy breakfast, but from the way he was staring at me and my bowl filled with wholesome nutty cereal and creamy oat milk, I had a feeling he wasn’t quite full. Unlike his winged mates, his presence was hard to ignore. His growing raucous chatter made me uneasy, so I put my hand over my bowl then covered my head with my arm as he abruptly flew from his perch. He swooped downward, and I jumped up from the patio chair, spilling the nutty contents of my bowl all over my feet. My sandles made a squishy flip flop sound as I made a run for It. Soft granola slid between my toes, and I slipped on their rubber soles. My morning coffee had kicked in, and I suddenly had caffeine jitters that shook me like a can in a hardware store paint mixer. I looked over my shoulder as I grabbed the door handle and flung the door open wide, forgetting that the dogs were scratching earlier, desperate to get out and be with me.
The cocky little Grackle landed in what was left of my granola and began pecking the sunflower seeds from the gooey pile spread across the concrete patio. Though this all happened quickly, time slowed for a split second as the Grackle blinked up at me while swallowing the tiny seeds, and then suddenly, our black lab exploded out the open door and tore past me, barking and growling. The birds perched in the trees above abruptly flew off in one giant panicked swarm. Then without hesitation and a single huge chomp and gulp, the Grackle was gone. I could hardly believe my eyes. Everyone was hungry for breakfast, it seems. In shocked disbelief, I stood there with my mouth hanging open then promptly scolded Buddy. He licked his lips as he sat down heavily in the mess that still lay on the ground, looking up at me proudly. I, in turn, looked at him with grossed-out disgust. I cleaned up and put the dogs back in the house, then sat down on the patio and attempted to find peace while processing what had just happened—what a bizarre turn of events. As I began to ease back into my day, I found what had just occurred both disturbing and simultaneously funny. I chuckled as the thought occurred to me that we should never underestimate the power of breakfast, that all-important first meal of the day. This was an unusual thought, but what the heck? This was an unusual morning.