I stepped out of the building and took about 13 steps. Something stopped me and told me to
look up. Through the humid air, I looked toward a patch of blue sky. It
was splattered with the white wings of birds. They were flying high,
although the variation in size told me they were at different heights. I
first took in the sight of pristine white gliding over a field of blue,
the beauty of the two colors multiplying the effect of hundreds of
lives moving with a single purpose.
Then I caught a shape that kicked me into analytical mode, with the goal of identifying species.
Just as quickly, I was kicked out again as I sought to locate the end of
the flock. On the north end of my field of blue, haze and clouds
combined to form an ether that continuously gave birth to more birds. It
was as if they were being formed out of the clouds. I strained to
distinguish bird body from haze, and found I could not until they
entered the field of blue.
Time stopped. I stopped. I found an individual and changed places with her, figuratively speaking,
gliding to the south, hearing an occasional cry from another flock
member. I saw the Mississippi river snaking its way toward the Gulf, saw
the former river bed now draped in steel rails, saw the red tiled roof
and the man in the blue and white cap catch my eye. I had no idea he
could not see my eyes. I felt the thermals beneath my wings and watched
the cap turn to follow me. I saw the sun glinting off the flooded farm
fields and the Mississippi's tributaries in the west, then I was
suddenly back in my own body, losing track of the feathered one I had so
My head swung back to the north and I watched the clouds give birth to birds for many long minutes. There was
no end. They just kept coming. My neck could take no more. My heart was
too full. I had to go.