Wednesday, November 16, 2011



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.
I sigh.
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.


  1. Pamela I have barn swallows that come back to nest every year. I adore the way they sweep in and out of the terrace. My Miss Belle loves to watch them as well!

    My rehab after hip replacement is going very well, I am being a good patient!


    Art by Karena

  2. As usual, beautifully written Pamela. I had a similar experience this afternoon, driving home, when a flock of rooks, my favourite birds, flew low over the car and landed in our paddock. A moment later, I went out to get the washing in off the line and they were making such a noise, chattering - it was wonderful.

    I am glad to hear of someone who makes a list of the day's chores and crosses them off as they are done. I do this every day and that crossing out of each one is so satisfying.

  3. Hello Pamela

    You describe so beautifully the flock of birds dancing as if in ballet. Your thought of smiling faces waiting for you to return home, is just precious and how can one ask for more.
    Helen xx

  4. I always love a post about birds..thank you..:))

  5. Beautiful words as ever Pamela. I love birds so much and understand how this sight must have been restored your spirit. I liked the line 'They stared down at us in pity, turning and nodding to one another, no doubt in comment on our trapped and earthbound existence'

    I have always wanted to fly, they are superior to us in that respect.

  6. Seeing birds flying in a ballet of unison is amazing. I'm sure you've probably seen it by now - it's been everywhere on the internet, but in case you missed it, here is a beautiful video of a murmuration:

  7. All I can say Pamela is that it is happening here too......flocks of birds wherever I go , migrating to warmer climes.....something that always amazes me. The distances that they travel, without a rest, is unbelievable.
    A beautifully written tribute to an amazing occurrence. XXXX

  8. A murmuring of starlings perhaps?...we see them often here in wine country. No matter how many times we witness it, it is marvelous.

  9. I've seen few swallows here, but we have resident flocks of starlings. Their mass dancing swirling flights are wonderful. They nest on tree lined main street with such a racket, they are considered nuisances by the city. No matter what steps they take the birdies prevail though.

  10. Beautiful.

    Yesterday, coming home from church, and in a spiritual swoop, a red-tailed hawk swooped up from the ground at the side of the road just as we came to a stop. He landed in a tree with his prey, just yards from us.

  11. What a wonderful story! There is nothing more UPLIFTING then to watch birds in flight!

  12. What a wonderful gift you were so freely given. A moment of truth that restores the soul.
    Sometimes it is just a single bird that dances around you until you are lost in the wonder of it or a sunbeam on a dewdrop splitting it into the shining colours of the rainbow.
    You are blessed with the sight to see, so many are blind by preference.

  13. Way to turn everything around, you positive thinker! You describe perfectly the winged magic of a flock of birds diving and turning and suddenly candle smoke :) Magical.

  14. I was thinking of you yesterday--and birds.

  15. Pamela
    Living in South Africa and summer is around the corner we enjoy the swallows doing their 'ballet'. Thanks for your beautiful writing!!

  16. What an absolutely lovely gift in your most exhausted moment, Pamela.

  17. Pamela, a fun link for you - loved your beautifully written word!

  18. another watcher of the little black birds who line all the stoplights.
    they are my nature in this ever incroaching concrete world...
    and you captured their beauty perfectly. thank you!
    tammy j

  19. Something similar happened to me this past week also, how I would love to have the gift to speak of it so eloquently!

    ~ Violet

  20. I love birds on electrical wires - I always think they look like notes on music sheets.

  21. Thanks for this flight with the birds - very uplifting! I keep looking from the piles on my desk to the blue skies outside. You may have pushed me out the door.

  22. Been there, felt that, loved it...thanks for tickling the senses.

  23. Oh, Pamela, nothing gives me greater joy. Beautiful post, thank you!

    We are blessed to live in a house perched on a spit of land between the sea and a saltmarsh, and abundant birdlife is our constant companion.
    A few weeks ago we were treated to a display by migrating swallows, and we could not go inside until they were gone.

    Have you seen the amazingly opportune, now viral, video that was shot here in Ireland of a Murmuration of starlings (I do believe the most perfect descriptive word ever)?

    Oh my heart....

  24. Oops the link! Just saw a few other links in previous comments. You have probably already seen it, but still...


    x x x

  25. Oh, I love birds. I love to watch birds too and can be lost for hours just analyzing their behavior. I have to be careful though while driving if I see a flock as my attentions are "steered" in other directions! Always enjoy visiting and sharing in your stories!! Thank you!

  26. Hello, Pamela Terry and Edward.

    Awe inspiring your works...

    Thank you for your love and sincerity.
    Have a good day.

    The traditional celebration, with kimono infants.

    Japanese colored leaves, in heartwarming space.

    The prayer for all peace.

    From Japan, ruma ❀

  27. Pamela,
    When I was younger I was afraid of birds and it's really only been in the past 6-7 that I've come to love them. And when i read this beautiful post, I wonder why?

  28. Such an evocative post Pamela... and I always love the illustrations you align with your words... xv


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