Hands gripping the steering wheel of my little green car, I sat at the red light, looking around. This hillside must have been magnificent once. Before we humans arrived, with our love and devotion to commerce. Once a great forest, it is now all concrete and steel, a bit of glass, some neon.
My list of the day’s chores lies face up on the seat beside me, each of its many tasks, almost growling in animation earlier in the day, are now mercifully struck through with a red ink pen, silenced at last. Dealing with them all has rendered me tired and depleted, every corpuscle of my being squeezed and dried like a raisin. I think of my fireside, the smiles that await me at my front door - furry and bearded, both - and I long for this traffic to stir.
And it was then, in mid-sigh, that I saw them.
A black lace ruffle densely gathered on the telephone poles and electrical wires that preside over this harsh slice of Americana. A massive flock of birds, their numbers so completely overwhelming we humans encased in our metal cages upon this paved mountain as to suggest our utter insignificance. They stared down at us in pity, turning and nodding to one another, no doubt in comment on our trapped and earthbound existence. I rested my chin on the steering wheel, my eyes fixed upwards to this ebony congregation of freedom.
And then, almost as if they noticed my gaze and wished to give me a gift - they lifted as one up into the waning light of the afternoon. Floating on the autumn air like dancers, clad in the black silk of their ancestors, they twirled and swirled in time to the music I had momentarily forgotten, lost in a choreography I have never known.
Moving in concert with the intricacy of a kaleidoscope, their feathered ballet captured my soul. I felt my spirit rise up into their midst and, for a brief moment, it floated amongst the throng of their wings, backwards and forwards, reaching up to the rising moon, diving back to the tired earth, ransomed and loose.
And then, without a backwards glance, they suddenly turned to go.
Like candle smoke, their dark, joyous cloud disappeared into the heavens leaving me behind on the hillside, clutching a restored spirit, and a promise.
The traffic moved on and I turned for home.