At home, having a day off while the boss is in the Black Forest. Listening to the sound of birdsong through the open window, for the first time in 2013. Spring surprises and delights me afresh every year, this sudden transition from silence to symphony, from absence to abundant presence, from stillness to activity, from midafternoon darkness to the Blaue Stunde as I walk home after work.
I saw a wonderful thing a few days ago, walking to lunch. To set the scene: it was the first day of nearly-Spring: crisp weather, bright sun and a perfectly clear sky. As I was walking down the street, I noticed a trio of hawks circling above the trees in the churchyard. They were flying very low, just clearing the rooftops, and I imagined that they were scouting for nesting sites. I watched for a while, and then my eye was caught by a strange rapid flicker of light overhead, way up high in the sky, like the tiniest imaginable strobe lights going on and off. It took me a while to figure out what I was looking at, but I eventually resolved it into a pair of V's of black-winged cranes flying north over the city, returning from their winter grounds in Africa. They were so high that I could only see them as dots: black left wing, white body, black right wing. The flicker was their wings flapping, briefly covering the white of their bellies.
It was the most incredible sight. I watched for several minutes until they were finally out of sight.
It was like a message from Life, saying "don't give up."