My dad used to dream about flying. In the dreams, he’d crouch down and begin flapping his arms until he took off exploring the universe. Me, not so much. I think I’ve dreamt of flying twice, and both times I was able to lift off, but then just bounced around the ceiling. It was a start, but hardly exhilarating.

A few days ago though, a cool thing happened. I was walking through the neighborhood and uncharacteristically glanced up, up, up. To my utter surprise, two storks were soaring around in the sky above me, and they were absolutely gorgeous.

I’m somewhat accustomed to wildlife. Our house fronts on heavily wooded areas that promise a daily bounty of one bird/rodent/fish or another. There are often herons in the creek, standing quite still with eyes focused hard on the flowing water for edibles, plenty of owls hooting back and forth in the afternoons and evenings, or once when I drove home in the dark, an owl who flew beside my car, his eyes perfectly level with mine until I reached the house and off he went. Lately our frequent flyer has been a rather hefty hawk that perches at the tippy-top of a cypress wavering from the weight, and a bit too close to the bird feeder for my comfort. We also have plenty of deer that trot across the creek and wander the backyards, showing their babies the ropes. And of course mystery animals. One morning we noticed HUGE footprints in the mud near the creek after a rain, and we never had a clue who made them ….

But no storks.

And then suddenly there were two. Two drop-dead gorgeous birds flew together in graceful circles directly above me — not over the creek, but on my city street, and I was awe-struck.

So I’ve been reading up on them. Storks can live thirty-nine years. They’re among the highest flying birds in the world, and travel up to 16 miles an hour. Were it not for the height, you could mistake them for ballerinas, stretching necks and legs and wings to create a very Rudolf Nureyev look as they fly.

They’re pure magic, and I’m taking their message to heart.

(Stock (or Stork) Photo)

Birds and Words

Today I got out early enough for a bit of a breeze and so many birds, The birds are a gift to my own ever-tenuous ability to hear, as well as a sort of much needed cosmic validation that stretches between us. I’m still here and you’re still here, and some knowing of that life spark passes between us.

When I walk, the words flow, quite unlike the way they sit, box-like, arms crossed and eyes shut tight to truth, when I’m still. I often invite them quite graciously to join me at the table, but they know my tricks. And more, they know the cage has to rattle for truth to escape.

So I use my legs for the rattling. They say exercise saves lives. I say that much of that rebirth springs from the ground and heads straight to the page.

Birds in Tree Crop