Saturday, November 04, 2006

Flying Before The Storm

It started quite innocuously. My daughter and I standing in the dining room, involved in a domestic task for the evening. Suddenly, my head by the air cleaner as I wipe something down, she says, "Mom! Mom! I just heard an owl and something big just flew by the window. I'd heard nothing with the whir of the machine in my ear but I look out the terrace door. I really look and I see...The moon. It's clear as can be but the temperature has dropped and didn't the weather report say something about rain? And if Sam heard an owl the birds are definitely on the move.
No pictures of birds when it's this dark but yes, what about a few of that moon before it goes behind a building. I grab the equipment. Where is my jacket? What about my gloves I haven't used them since last winter. Finally all the errant items accounted for and settled, I look into the scope and THERE ARE BIRDS FLYING PAST THE FACE OF THE MOON! Oh, I've got to get this. Set the timer, click, readjust for we are moving and so is the moon. Set the timer click, adjust. Set the timer, click, adjust. Set the timer, click, adjust.

Images of moon,

after moon,

After luminous moon.

Two hundred and fifty three of them in fact. And though my eye catches the birds racing the storm the camera does not.

Then she begins to set behind that building I was worried about.

The moon is gone. What now?

Just what are those tiny points of light anyway?

I don't know it then, but one of them is a little green orb, a moon, a planet, a what? Why, a celestial body of course.

A good word Celestial, it has a fine feel in the mouth.

And while I watch the tiny lights, the moon sails out from behind the building and then once again I search for wings.

Now, besides the wind and increasing cold, the clouds scud by. No more birds seen flying before the storm across the moon's face. For now she darkens with the ever increasing clouds. Soon she is nothing more than a glow in a sky of milky white. And the birds have won the race I hope. I do so hope they fly through skies where there are stars still to be seen. And stars to see by. The stars, that shimmering celestial map sparkling down on their feathers, guiding them on their way.

Donegal Browne

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