We can speak without voice to the trees and the clouds and the waves of the sea. Without words they respond through the rustling of leaves and the moving of clouds and the murmuring of the sea.
~ Paul Tillich
From the Bench Chronicles. (Yesterday, sitting on the dock.) What a lovely day! The bench is warm, like sunlight, and the water looks blue and cool, like the sky. Crows are flying and cawing overhead, and a Little Bird is moving around in the phragmites behind me. Little Bird is cheeping and chirping. Perhaps she’s asking how I am today, so I chirp back and that seems to satisfy her.
The tide is high, but moving out and the water looks oddly inviting. I have this silly urge to dive in and float wherever the water takes me. Instead, I sit and stare at the small ripples and wavelets made by the wind, and let my mind drift off with the tide. Little Bird flutters in agreement with the decision to mind-travel rather than go for a swim.
There must be thousands of starlings somewhere in the marshes. I can hear them, and if their numbers are not in the thousands, they make enough noise to sound as if there are thousands. Lift off! There they are, off in the distance, over the trees. Sound carries well here. I thought they were closer.
(Later in the day, from the bench on the platform.) I moved closer to the house in case the Electrical Guys have any questions. I like sitting up here, above the marsh and under the big oak tree. The starlings moved again, too, or else it is another flock. Murmuration, they’re called. I like that word. I wonder who came up with the name “murmuration?” Standing under a flock of starlings while they’re on the move, the subtle sound of their wings does make a murmuring sound so the word is a good one.
The wind rustles through the leaves, and the starlings are chattering again. And then, all of a sudden and for no apparent reason (although I’m sure they have a reason), they all go quiet. The chattering doesn’t trickle off with a few stragglers still whispering in the back row. Every one of the birds stop at once. I find that as amazing as their flight when they do their synchronous swirl in the sky.
After a while, I put away my journal and leave the platform to go work in the little cemetery. Clouds drift by, some small and fluffy, some big and dark. I hear another large murmuration of starlings to the north of me, nattering, warbling, whistling, and chattering.
The sky darkens as the birds are again silenced all at once. Perhaps the Head Bird gave the signal to shush. I look out through the “window” in the woods, an opening where you can see the meadow from one of the grave sites.
A few seconds later, there they are, the starlings, a quiet murmur of wings overhead.
Have you ever stood directly under thousands of starlings as they swirl in the sky? It’s the most amazing thing. My heart soared and swooped and swirled with them.
It was a wonder-filled day, all in all. I am grateful that the electricians were here all day, allowing me to spend the day soaring with starlings.
Thank you for stopping by and visiting yesterday with me. I hope your day brought you some wonder and amazement.
If you’re interested, there’s a great article about why the starlings fly as they do at the Cornell All About Birds website. It’s called A Darwinian Dance, and I love the way author, Grainger Hunt, describes a murmuration of starlings as “a dazzling cloud, swirling, pulsating, drawing together to the thinnest of waists, then wildly twisting in pulses of enlargement and diminution, a fluid choreography of funnels, ribbons, and hourglasses, spills and mixing, ever in motion. Dense in one moment, diffuse in the next.”
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂