The Birds

She and I haven't seen each other since graduation, and we've decided that it is time for a visit. Since we only live two and a half hours apart, we choose a Saturday in September to meet somewhere in the middle for lunch.

I am driving on the back road highway, heading south. Its a beautiful almost-autumn day and the sun is illuminating the late summer harvest in the rural fields. Wind slips through my cracked window and I smell the sweet scent of warmed grass and cool, crisp air. Fall. I am peaceful. Content. And for a moment, I remark to myself how beautiful this all is. The gently slopping hills dappled with queen anne's lace. The streaming sunlight. The cool air and the bluest of skies.

A flock of dark birds covers the field to my left, and as I watch, the group rises in unison. A hundred birds or more. They lift themselves into the air, an effortless dance, and as they move towards me, crossing from left to right, I sigh and consider the moment. This, this too, is beautiful. The rich sunlight is marked by their grey shadows and I try to find some meaning in these breathless moments. The sun. The birds. The wind. The sky.

As I marvel, the flock passes over me. Suddenly, in a swift instant, my windshield is covered...blotted with everything the birds chose to let go mid-flight.

My marveling ceases. Abruptly.
And these moments feel a little less sacred than they did thirty seconds ago.



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