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Birds in August

They are restless. Why? What do they know? That it is no longer spring; song is over, and mating. Nestlings full size fly with the parents in ragged patterns. Their small, fleet, accurate bodies never touch. What do their wingtips apprehend in this oppulent season? days are shorter but there is this wide deep, welcoming sky. It is scrawled with birds. They spring out of privet hedges by double handfuls. On telephone wires they light in bevvies, a long still line -- notes for a Bach fugue -- each feather folded upon its motion. Then, like a silent thunderclap they break, take wing scatter in skeins of soundless music, swoop and are lost the lot of them in potato fields; up before thought can follow and away. Gone . . . like a cloud like a dream of summer.

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