Wednesday, 10 December 2008

a murmuration

a murmuration

I was out at Leighton Moss (a RSPB reserve near Lancaster) at dusk last night and saw maybe a thousandmaybe more, starlings circle in to roost. There is something totally mesmerising about their unified flight and swoop. The ability to move in such close formation, catching the light so one minute they there, the next gone, and then back again, is so alien to us humans contained by roads and walls. Watching them, I envied that grace, intuition and inherent knowledge that comes with a flock mentality.

A couple of years ago I wrote a libretto for Steve Lewis for an improvised opera, Flocking. And improvisation is the closest I've come to experiencing that movement I witnessed last night - the listening and timing that comes from singing with other people without a prescribed score. The sense of uplift from others, the creation of something that can only be whole with others, the acute belonging, the swell and shrinkage of voices - channels (or is that funnels?) me into a larger mass. I suspect I'm not making myself particularly clear, but it occurs to me that our voice provides an opportunity for redefining ourselves, recreating our place in relations to others. Through it we escape our physical limitations, we can become "A magnetic mob of airborne phosphorescence". For that reason alone, I'll keep on trilling

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr X would be so jealous. He's a real bird lover and a 1000 starlings must have been magical. We have some parakeets near where we live but I don't see them often enough, and we have a bird tray but mostly it's effing pigeons who come to pig out - and I HATE them. I want to see exquisite, colourful Amazonian birds in my back garden.
Just adding you to my blogroll. Completely overlooked it before.