Saturday, November 10, 2012

second order transitions

Overhead, masses of starlings were gathering in trees, along power lines, gathering and disbursing into starburst clouds of birds scattering in the air, forming patterns like fireworks then settling back in among the trees. The squirrels were hyperactive, but it's hard to tell the difference between when a squirrel is being a squirrel and when a squirrel is possessed by the devil, so I ignored their manic frantic games and watched everything else. The trees even seemed taut. Maybe that's ridiculous, maybe trees are always rigid and still because they're trees and not because they are preternaturally hyperaware of some dramatic change in the environment, just as squirrels always run around in random circles regardless of the state of the universe. That's a fair criticism, but there was something different about the trees, something attentive and watchful, that hadn't been there before, and there was something different about the squirrels, something acutely fearful, and squirrels are never afraid of anything, god or man or dog or demon.

This is a delightful description of the question: is glass a solid or a liquid? And I do wish the author and I were related, instead of merely sharing a surname.