Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Vision on Wings


There are so few birds in these out-islands, that spotting a flock of 10 to 12 at once was a significant event. That they were much more than “just birds” made it even more exciting. My eyes traced their swooping, wheeling, diving, soaring flight paths. They called to each other and chorused together as they flew, reveling in the joy of being alive.



My heart picked up the pace—I wanted them to come closer and let me really see them, identify them, claim them as my own. They were oblivious of me, more attuned to one another. Was I watching a mating rendez-vous? It must have been more than that—their passion wasn’t directed one-on-one, but more on freedom, flight and fancy. Where did they come from? Can they be indigenous? I’ve never seen them before in ten years here. Perhaps this is a migration stop-over, in which case, where are they going? Will we see them again?
Their iridescent underbodies and extended wings reflected the turquoise water below, subtly turning them a soft green hue. Their wings wore black banded tips. Their voices were musical, but I couldn’t see more than a red splash of their beaks. It was the sight of the tails that made them startlingly spectacular! Longer than twice their body length, their tails trailed like slender ribbons as they spiraled, dipped and dove in
aerial dance.
Beautiful.
 Unusual.
Delightful.


Why did my companions give these beauties only a passing glance? Why did they respond "Birds" with a shrug of the shoulders and a smirk at my excitement? Spirits diminish when they lose a child-like wonder and interaction with their world. Surly the Creator found these avians worthy of attention, adorning them beyond basic functionality.   Ours is not a Utilitarian Universe so totally dedicated to function as to preclude the value of beauty in hidden places, splendor in colour and form, or surprise in the unusual and rare.

Eyes see, minds interpret, hearts, if allowed, live out the vision. A glance, a stare, a studied examination. Really, truly, deeply seeing. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s riff plays in my head:

The world is so full

Of a number of things,

I’m sure we should all

Be as happy as kings.


Can anybody out there identify these birds for me?  Maybe they live where you do.  They're not from my neck of the woods. 
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