Tuesday, August 30, 2011

As Close to Flying As I'll Get

I have a good walk in the morning, from my car through the huge parking lot to the entrance of the building that houses my lovely job. I don't get there as early as I used to, which makes my walk even longer, since thousands of people work in my building.

I don't mind.

I busy myself, usually fiddling with my iPod while peripherally minding the traffic.

I’m still aware of what is around me, but even if I notice someone I recognize nearby, I’m likely to appear too distracted call over to them. My little walk through the lot is my time.

There are geese – and I mean to say tons of them – who gather around the perimeter of the parking lot. Our lot used to be their home. They still try to make it so every Spring and they stay around through Fall, sometimes poking at the ground even after the first frost. The geese are completely unfriendly and territorial. They are also consistent and loyal.

For the last two qualities, I love those vicious, primitive, elegant, gray geese.

I actually have a little thing about birds in general. I love to see them fly. I am fascinated by them… not enough to study them, but enough to pay attention to them. Blackbirds flocking up and back in their cryptic formations; tiny yellow finches darting in and out of our trees; electric hummingbirds vibrating around a red, globed feeder at our family’s place in Arizona. And I really like when the giant bone-pickers (the large, predatory birds who manage road-kill) circle the highway as I travel along, so I can see their huge wingspans as they float above.

This morning, it was unusually quiet as I walked in, and far off, I could hear a flock of geese approaching. Soon, they were nearly overhead, and as they passed right in front of me, just five feet above my height, they stopped honking for about three seconds.

And in that moment, all I could hear in the world was the thick, lush sound of their enormous wings. It was magnificent.

I felt a lump in my throat and an involuntarily sad-happy smile…the kind you get when something is just so…haltingly beautiful…here and then gone. I felt wistful. Thankful.

I hope I hear that sound again someday. I can still hear it, but...

The beating of wings.

(I know, I’m a sap.)

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