A Summer Dance

The birds put on a dance this morning.

Looking out my kitchen window, I noticed a flock of several hundred small white birds floating on the nearby lagoon.  I was enjoying a lazy summer morning in a small beach town and was working on my second cup of tea.  When I went outside to get a closer view I saw that it was low tide, with long stretches of sand bars exposed.  The birds were clustered together on the open water in three tight groups, each shaped into an elongated oval.

Suddenly they were all in the air, flying as one being (with only one or two struggling to keep up).  They moved in large arcs high in the air, to the left and then to the right.  As they shifted direction, their color changed from bright white to dark as their wings caught sun or shadow.  Then they flew straight toward me, directly overhead, and the clear blue sky was filled with white wings.  They curved left and away, and drifted off to a distant point above the lagoon.  I watched as they gently descended and fluttered onto the water, a mad frenzy of wings and water.  With a slow diminuendo, they settled onto the glassy smooth surface of the lagoon and the dance was done.

The individual was part of the whole.  There was a balance of repetition and surprise.  There were moments of both lilting grace and power, and there was a deeply satisfying conclusion.  Perhaps all the work that we do – the dances, the words, the music or the visual art, is simply a struggle to connect with that effortless beauty.

~ Liz

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