A sound startled me. Loud, and high above me. Except, alone in the park only sky shown over my head. Make that sky and fowls, because up, up, in perfect V formation flew a flock of ducks or geese. A loud flock, and I dare say, happy. The birds sounded like a group of cheerleaders clamoring victory. I guessed it had to do with the fact that the flock had arrived to their winter destination.
And I found myself thinking back, waaaayyy back. I was a child in Italy and at migration time small birds lined up on the electric wires. I saw them from my third floor bedroom window, in the house my grandfather built. From there the rows of birds below looked all identical, dark and small, oh, so small. I had problems comprehending why they met in this place, a starting point for a long and arduous journey. To me they looked like tiny soldiers going off to war dressed in black, I couldn’t hear any chirping, maybe they were on their way to a funeral. People always dressed in black for funerals. How would they know what time to meet? Perhaps they heard the chiming of the church bells? So many questions.
A striking difference occurred to me. The flock over my head that morning in the park sounded joyful, the departing small birds in Italy always gave me a sense of sadness and loss. Maybe the sky caused the contrast. Gray and heavy and cold in Italy. While the Arizona blue sky always lifts my spirits. And unlike departures, arrivals seem to bring a sense of joy.