Columbia is near our old stomping grounds in Ellicott City, about an hour from home. Although they're neighboring counties, Howard and Carroll Counties are like night and day. Or day and night maybe. Depends on how you look at it. Anyway, Howard County is very posh--last I saw stats on these sorts of things, it was the seventh richest county in the country--and Columbia is kind of quintessential HoCo. (Ellicott City, on the other hand, where we used to live, is more artsy.) We went to dinner first at La Palapa in the Ellicott City historic district. I had chili rellenos. They have very good chili rellenos there.
Then it was down to Columbia or, as I like to call it, Creepy Columbia. Creepy because it was one of the first planned cities in the country, and everything looks so ... planned. Creepy. The lakefront is one of the nicer parts of Columbia because it is not so planned and, therefore, not so creepy. There are a few restaurants but, otherwise, it's a big-A lake and a walking trail around it and some decks and fountains and stuff. Very Noldorin, actually. Bobby and I browsed around the artists' exhibits and there was some gorgeous stuff but expensive. I told Bobby that were I to have any significant money someday, I would spend it on artwork like that, just to support the artists. (Our tiny house being chock full o' art already.) We had arrived early and Scythian wasn't on till nine, so we went down to the pier and sat with our feet dangling over the water. There were birds that I think were purple martins flitting and diving over the lake, catching insects. We weren't sitting for long before we noticed that they were swooping and landing under the pier. (Any ornithologists out there? Is that typical of purple martins?) A group of them, flying almost in formation, kept circling around, arriving just about to where Bobby and I were sitting, and veering away at the last moment. They did it enough times that I had an idea and told Bobby to pull up his legs and sit back a little. Sure enough, we must have been sitting over their nesting spot because, after appraising us for a few more minutes, one flittered under the dock directly under us. A second one followed within a foot of us, then must have had a change of heart, lost courage, and flittered away again. They were adorable though, flying incredibly fast and with amazing agility and making the cutest little peeping sound. We also saw one chase what looked to be an oriole across the lake.
Anyway, at that point, I thought the purple martins would be the highlight of my evening, but Scythian is not to be underestimated. They are phenomenal live; they create such amazing energy in the crowd. Bobby and I stood up and danced through the whole show. They even played a waltz just for couples, so we even got to waltz!--though waltzing in a crowd is tough, we learned. They just finished recording a new album, and I told Bobby on the way home that I usually get attached to one album by a group and can't really ever get into their later stuff in the same way, but from what I heard of their new songs tonight, they just keep getting better. There are very few music groups I can say that about.
In fact, I had such a good time that, after returning home, I looked down at my hand and discovered that in all the clapping and dancing and excitement and endogenous opiates, one of my rings struck one of my fingers hard enough to leave a bruise. The side of the fingerpad on my right middle finger (heh) is purple-red and a little swollen. I hope that demonstrates adequately to Scythian my regard for their music! My first injury at a concert and it wasn't in a mosh pit but listening to folk music while dancing the waltz. I'm such a hardass.