• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
  • Archives

Praise for Them Springing Fresh From the World


I’d always heard about it, but had never seen it. It’s a word that finds its way into poems: murmuration. And why not, it sounds amazing, all those delicious m’s and r’s. We took a boat up the Connecticut River to Essex, where at dusk, over 600,000 swallows emerged as tiny dots then as winged things in great masses forming shapes in the air, moving in unison. The show lasted for about 45 minutes, the birds moving to escape a peregrine falcon who was hunting. Everyone on the boat became five years old again as they spotted the great bird formation sweeping the sky. The only thing that could compare to the bird watching was the people watching. More on that tomorrow.

What are you in awe of?

8 Responses

  1. Before I started reading this post, I was going to comment I’d never seen a murmuration like the one in this picture. I’d be in awe of this, for sure.

    I’m in awe of a lot of things, not only relative to nature, but humans, too. It’s hard to pin down, but I suppose when I encounter “it,” there I am, mouth open, stupefied by the sight.

    I haven’t been awed by anything recently, but I’m getting ready to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains. Without fail, I will stand at an overlook, wonderstruck by the beauty.

  2. “What are you in awe of?”

    Almost everything, if I remember to be open to it. Have you seen a baby’s hand? The barn swallows cavorting through the air after sundown — then, all at once, as though on signal, they are gone to nighttime roosts when it’s too dark to fly. The mustard seed of grace and love that resides in the heart of all of us. The immense span of all that we know, from smallest to largest. I could go on.

  3. After attending yesterday’s luncheon (an event to honor my 92 year old friend), I remain in awe of the human murmuration such an event inspires: the smarmy rabbi intent on a promise for a sizeable donation from the guest of honor, the celebrity couple working the room, several small children flitting between the adults attempting to laden plates at the buffet line, and the until-now-absent relatives snugging their chairs close to my friend in an effort to claim her as their prize. My friend’s executor and I observed this spectacle, entertaining ourselves with thoughts of how to translate this swirl of humanity and hidden intents into a one-act play.

  4. Being alive.

    I’ve seen such a bird flight but didn’t know the name. Thanx.

  5. I am awed by the size of the universe, the estimation that there are more stars in the cosmos than grains of sand on every beach in all the world. I find it so comforting, inspiring both nihilism and humility: we don’t matter, any more than a single starling would detract from the murmuration.

    And yet.

  6. I too have seen the birds (many times) on the most beautiful of rivers, the Connecticut. To see the swallows swarm and cloud the sky is a wondrous event of nature. You were in my neck of the woods, or should I say my bend in the river (within a few miles). So glad you got to be five years old again.

  7. I’m raw-ther awed by your tenacity, Betsy. Not sucking up. Mean it. More and more, as I age, I find folks who just keep showing up, no matter how much it hurts, how hard it is, the myriad disappointments, they don’t stop trying. It’s seeping into me and inspiring me. Truly. Right now, for whatever reason(s), it feels like all that matters.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: