Any hobby that gets you up at the crack of dawn is a good hobby. Because you see things around dawn that you don't see at any other time of day. The reason I woke so early on a Sunday morning was to get to the Newark record swap. To get there I take a scenic drive through the Niles Canyon, an other worldly spit of nature connecting the Amador-Livermore Valley with the San Francisco Bay. As I made my through the winding road, I spotted what appeared to be a large animal standing in the middle of the road, literally standing in between the two yellow lines dividing the travel lanes. When I got closer, I could see it wasn't a single animal, but a large bird standing atop an animal carcass. I slowed down and passed the dark honey-colored bird. I recognized it as a Golden Eagle. I knew because of the hours I spent as a young boy studying the pictures of eagles in the World Book Encyclopedia. In real life, the eagle was much larger that I ever imagined as a young boy. The eagle never took flight even as I got within five feet of it. It just calmly watched me pass by. That's how animals at the top of the food chain react.
That's what I remember from my trip to the record swap last month. I don't remember the records I picked up. I just have that picture of the majestic, grand eagle. Oh, I also remember thinking at the record swap that only short, old Asian men seem to collect classical albums. None over 5'-3" in height, which is about how tall the Golden Eagle stood atop the carcass.