‘Against everyone’s lead — and their previous inclinations — they dip their heads and go for another spin.’
I’m sitting on a bench by a stone church, watching the pigeons fly around. They’re taking off in a grey-black flurry against the blue sky to circle over the street, above the traffic lights, then land back on the porch from which they took off.
A minute later they do it again: take off, swoop, land, and then again, repeating the process every few minutes.
Then they do something odd. They take off for one more pass, a swift spin, but this time round they refuse to perch. They swish round without pause — woosh — a short and swift loop, the vanguard leading the way, then one more — whoosh! — one big bundle of wings swooping over the street.
It’s not as smooth and harmonious as it sounds. The flock is solid for the most part, decisive, but the rear is trailing reluctantly. Their hearts are not into it. Every time a loop comes to a close, they pull their wings up, braking and holding back, ready to perch, but, driven by the bulk of the flock in front of them, almost drawn by it, they change their mind and, as if pulled by a magnet, they fling themselves back into the fray for one more spin.
I’m watching this bizarre display of showmanship, this wonderful group aerodynamic, wondering how many loops are in the works.
Not many more from the looks of it. They’ve had their fill. The frontfliers seem partial to perching.
Sure enough, they pull back their wings and land on the porch, the rest of the flock settling around them.
Not the ones in the rear. Against everyone’s lead — and their previous inclinations — they dip their heads and go for another spin, swift and decisive, before landing on the other side of the porch.
A lot like fathers and sons.
Or is it sons and fathers?
From the bays of Pearl Coast,
Fish a ton of oysters, strike a shiny pearl.