Often, nose screwed up against the glare, fighting the photosensitive sneeze, arm raised against the dazzle, they’ll be there.

You’ll lose them, then mistake them.


Scimitars against the capri blue, two dark scratches circling together, locked in a nearly embrace, as they orbit, riding the warm air. Gradually, eyes accustomed, white and buff markings under the wings. All the effort yours, they plan and steer and steer and plan and drift away across the vast invisible landscapes of the air.

At ground level, still beautiful, just a little clunkier, relieved momentarily of the esoteric, but it waits for them a hundred feet up. They sit sullen on a branch, or stomp about in the fields, trousers dirtying. Talons filled with earthworms and earth.


There. There, thinking it might roost in a tree, the head turned back, looking behind and then down, it saw us and shrugged off, its great wings flapping (almost in slow motion, but every focus for those seconds is control and strength). It doesn’t care for our lack of intent, or earnest wonder, or astonishment, or the imperceptible prickle of fear in the company of the wild; but simply, it escapes.