One of the things I love most about Nature is its power to surprise. Take yesterday, for example.

I’ve driven on roads in Britain on which traffic was obliged to stop for herds of sheep. Charming sight; I’ll bet you’ve seen it in movies. But last evening, not sheep, not cows. Blackbirds. Thousands of them.

The road was literally black with them. The trees bore thousands of black, winged leaves. The power lines sagged under their weight. The sight was breathtaking…and a little unsettling. Like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Why so many? Why there?

A light touch to the car horn. A nudge to the accelerator. The road flock lifted up, only to settle back down the moment I’d passed. Which is when the sight of bird-laden trees and power lines revealed itself. This morning, when I passed that way, they were gone. But not my memory of them: That will remain for quite a while.