November 10, 2013

Night flight

Walking to the shop for a last-minute bottle of wine tonight I heard migrating birds overhead. Not the thin, tseep-tseep call of redwings, but something deeper and more textured: the intermittent contact cronks of a skein of geese somewhere high above me in the dark.

I love these moments, when the ancient survival patterns of another species reach us in our protected and seasonless safety, when the wild seeps through to touch our sterile city lives.

Addendum: a few days after I wrote this a friend, Rosie, sent me this picture on Twitter:

It's a migratory woodcock, and it fell dead at her foot on a pavement in Elephant & Castle. Coming in from somewhere like Russia or Finland, hoping to find somewhere safe to overwinter, it found its end in a grim part of South London, something that made me feel sad for the rest of the day.