Starlings

November 19, 2008

Winter seemed to show up uninvited over the weekend. One would think that a seasonal order that has been around for millions of years would not hold any surprises, but still, it manages.

The first greening of spring provides the same “wow” factor. One day, it’s winter, and the next, there’s a faint green mist on the skin of the hills, a blush of redbud, and there you are, in spring.

I went out of town on business over the weekend, and when I returned, it was winter. Just like that. Trees bare, lawn swirling with discarded leaves. This morning I found some traces of ice here and there.

Everything outside seemed in motion at once, as though lots of last-minute things were going on, getting ready for the serious business of winter.

Distracted by movement in the neighboring cornfield, I propped myself up on my rake (which, I find, is one of the very best uses for it) and watched a mass of starlings fidget among the cornstalks, never settling, never still, then peeling away in their hundreds, starting at the edge of the flock closest to me, like a label being peeled off, into the sky, then, black feathers flickering silver in the late sun, dramatic against a dark horizon.

The starlings poured into the air, swirled like sugar stirred in tea, then blew through the pin oak and populated the silver maple and elm right in front of me, their song like a chorus of rusty hinges. They filled their bare roost against the bright sun like notes on a Bach concerto. But only for a moment. A small hawk rocketed in just over my head and into the maple, and all the black notes swept away in a panic, leaving the hawk perched alone, eyeing the leaf litter for voles, mice, anything that moved.

It began to snow.

Only a flurry, but a promise, a hint.

I laid the rake in the wheelbarrow and headed back for the mound of mulch in the truck. I, too, had business to finish before the winter comes.
==============================.
© 2008 Marsh Creek Media, Gettysburg, Pa.
“Burger to Go” is a product of me and my company, Marsh Creek Media and, as such, I am solely responsible for its content.
Check out the two “Burger to Go” blogsites:
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2 Responses to “Starlings”

  1. Dan said

    Wow, Terry, what an incredible mass of imagery. You really captured the scene.

    So, instead of “Hussein,” can we now append “Dillard?”

  2. Scotty B said

    The pictures you paint with words!

    My only ‘hmmmmph’ is: I can’t read the piece aloud and close my eyes and soak in the imagery at the same time.

    (And I found keeping one eye closed and the other open doesn’t work so well for that either, in case you were going to try!)

    Thanks, TW…..you make mornings great!

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