An Aerial Dance

It’s beautiful this morning.  I’m sitting outside in the garden of my sister’s house deep in the Lincolnshire countryside, just enjoying the peace.  I say peace, but I don’t mean a quiet sort of peace, because the air is loud with the incessant chatter of birds.  There are sparrows chirruping everywhere, on and in the roof of the house, filling the purple spiked buddleia bushes and darting from place to place.  Every so often there is a great commotion and a clumsy pigeon leaps heavily into the air and flaps ponderously from a tree to a telegraph wire and back.  There are blackbirds and starlings, and I hear calls of birds I don’t recognise.  But the real stars are a group of swifts, like flying acrobats. Sometimes they soar so high that they are mere dots in the wide open sky. And suddenly they are swooping low across the garden, barely skimming the grass and bushes before wheeling up and away on scythe shaped wings. Changing direction with a flick of the body; tail splayed out wide, and then drawn in; body shaped like a torpedo.  Sunlight shining dull silver on their under-carriages, they circle and then sweep along the edge of the roof, alighting momentarily before effortlessly soaring off again.  Flying close together, follow my leader, and then separating, diving down and down, out of the sky almost touching the grass and then swooping back up. In, out, twisting, turning, even upside-down, like a unchoreographed aerial dance, ever-changing, always new.
Just amazing.  Thank you God.

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