Ballet in Black-and-white

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One moment from the past year.

March in London: the wind bites up on the observation tower; I have donned my fleece for the first time that day. Beneath us the wetland center is segregated into rectangles of water, each dotted with birds – here, a snipe stalks the edge of a patch of setch, inconspicuous in mosaiced brown, here, a swan waddles ungracefully out of the water. You can see houses in the distance, a crane looming out of the distance, but this area belongs entirely to the water, the birds.

And the lapwings are dancing on the English gray sky, swooping and soaring, tracing patterns, painting Pollocks. In the gloom their iridiscent purple and green has become black and white, yin and yang. They dive down to very nearly the ground. Then they ascend up again, turbo-charged. They drift together, wings spread, for a moment, hanging motionless. Then flap rapidly, turned into blur – up again, up and up and up. At the peak of their ascent they separate, falling; ten meters from the ground they join again. It enthralls. Their wings ripple through the air. Hypnotic.

Circles and spirals and infinity loops, on and on and on.

It seems they will go on forever.

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