Starlings and Minnows


It is starling season again. Not my favorite birds as individuals or, come to think of it, when roosting, but I love them in flight. They whirl and swirl and it is like the wind made visible. Feathers, leaves, wind in the oat grass like wavelets on streams. Like minnows flashing black and silver as they weave and turn and turn back on themselves.
I learned to swim in a creek not far from my grandmother’s house in Dickson County. Yellow Creek at the time was crystal clear and icy cold, and the place we swam was just deep enough for diving on one side. The other side was a limestone shelf. That’s where we would drag ourselves out, blue and wrinkled, to thaw and bake until we were ready to go back in and start over again. There was a bridge there. When no one was swimming, you could sit up there, high above the water and watch the minnows.

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