More Murmurations

I have now spent several hours watching YouTube murmurations. I am enthralled! I desperately want to experience this first hand. I can remember once, while my family fished from the levee on the Sacramento River, early in the morning, a dense black river of starlings going east, flying just yards above the water.

It was continuous and it must have taken an hour with very few gaps in the cloud of feathers. They didn’t break and create spirals in the sky, they were directed and linear. They had some place to go!

The funny thing was that later in the afternoon they came back, just as dense, and just as directed. Black feathers blotting out the sky!

I remember reading stories about herds of bison that took days crossing a particular river. Then, a few short years, and mountains of bones later, they were mostly gone. Murdered almost as successfully as the dodo. Hmm, man can change the environment, and he has!

Back to murmurations, I just can’t imagine how signals are communicated so quickly, and accurately. “Wait, you want me to follow you? Where are we going? What do you mean it’s partly up to me?” It’s beyond human understanding.

An instantaneous collective thought, maybe the patterns are three dimensional thoughts, written above the fields, murmurations disappearing as thoughts fade. Someday perhaps our recordings of these patterns may be deciphered, and we will understand the language of the flocks. Will they say something profound? Or will it be “I’m cold and hungry!”

About johndiestler

Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
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