THE LAST LAP
Different perspectives (1)
Here in this spring, stars float along the void,
Here in this ornamental winter,
Down pelts the naked weather:
This summer buries a spring bird.
“Here in this spring” Dylan Thomas 1933
It's a tough decision.
My nest is still almost five hundred kilometres away and, dammit, I need to get there. It's been a hard migration this year: my neck is sore, my chest hurts, my wing-bones are weary from hammering the sky. I would give anything for a rest - for a week, or a month, but it cannot be. The drive is too great: it screams at me in my head, like talons on wet glass...
I am in France, in Normandy. There is a nice river here, which I remember from previous years. There are fish in it, but I cannot eat too much. If I do, my body will go into post-migration metabolism, and long-distance journeys will be out of the question until the damage to my flight muscles has been repaired.
Maybe just a small one, then...
That's better. I got a good sight of the sun as it went down, so I know exactly where I am. Now, what to do tomorrow? There is a ridge of high ground here. I fly up and along it. Circling and climbing with the updraught, I reach eight hundred metres. Above me, the stars are beginning to come out. Not Dylan Thomas's stars – those are still far ahead, but from this altitude I can see the patterns of the sky beyond the sea.
|(Click for larger image)|
Instinct tells me to wait. Don't ask me how I know this: it's in the patterns in the sky. The wind is still against me, but it is less than it was today. That's a pattern too. Patterns are how we know things, how we navigate and tell the time, and find the places we belong. They are how the World works.
You humans see the patterns, but you no longer understand them. It is fortunate that you are not birds...
There were a few other ospreys here but they have gone ahead. I wonder if they made it. I will wait until the pattern in the sky changes. An extra day or two will not make that much difference.
After all, it's not as if anyone is expecting me...