Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Black snake

I am standing in the yard at late afternoon. The air is cool, the smell of harvest is in the air, a scent like husks of corn roasting over a fire. No wind, no clouds, no icy chill. A perfect fall day.

I look over the fields to the east. In the distance, a long black shape forms in the sky. Weaving, warping, rising and falling over the fields. It's coming closer. I hear a noise like a million sharp voices clammering into one loud swarm of sound. It veers in the sky and heads for our grove. Seconds later the black snake flies overhead and begins to uncoil itself in the upper branches of the trees.

The snake loses its shape this close to my eyes--it is now one massive swarm of black birds, thousands of thousands. My ears are deafened, my chest feels tight. They land in the trees, only to rise again seconds later. Wave after wave they pass overhead.

I am spellbound by the sight and the sound of these birds. I lose track of time. Finally the swarm wanes. The birds let go of our grove and fly toward the west. The snake shapes itself again, a black body writhing against the sky, growing distant and muted.

Words cannot capture this. Neither can a photo. I try to take a video, but it is shakey and blurred, and inadequate. I want desparately to share this moment, to share the awe and the ecstacy that I felt. But I can't, not really.

... But I had to try.

1 comment:

Harold Phillips said...

A powerful description, Jo... you may not feel like you've done the "swarm" justice, but I think I've got a pretty good impression of how it affected you!

You're right... I guess I don't have any photos of the house or Portland in general on my Photobucket Site. I'll need to fix that... keep an eye on my blog in coming weeks; I'll try and fill the void :)