Murmuration

Soyez comme l’oiseau, posé pour un instant

Sur des rameaux trop frêles,

Qui sent ployer la branche et qui chante pourtant,

Sachant qu’il a des ailes!

(Be like the bird who / pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight / feels them give way beneath her /and yet sings / knowing she hath wings)

–Victor Hugo

When I was a young girl, I spent many summers abroad in France, my grandmother’s country. I remember how exciting it was to count down the days until the trip every year. I would wish for time to speed up, even through Christmas, just to get there! Each summer, we would spend a few weeks in Paris, then Is-en-Bassigny, and then finally, Roquebrune-sur-Argens, which was my favorite. Built into the mountainside just off of the French Riviera, Roquebrune offered beautiful views of the Provence from its great heights.

My most favorite part about the townhome we owned in Roquebrune was my bedroom window. Situated at one of the higher points in town, I could see for miles out of that window, and I spent untold hours in the evenings sitting on its thick ledge of the 300 year old house. This was a nightly occurrence for me, because I loved to greet the starlings as they danced their murmuration across the sky in the evenings. Appearing over the horizon like a great, black ribbon, they would dive and turn, undulating through the twilight to an erratic dance of birdsong as the sunset burned orange and ember behind them. Eventually they would come closer overhead and completely dominate the sky with the moon rising behind them. Then as gracefully as they came, they flew beyond our town and out of sight. I was entranced each time, as if every night was completely new to behold.

It has been 16 years since I last sat in that window and watched the birds dance their nightfall ballet. I think back to those memories often though, despite the time. Some people imagine a pristine beach as their happy place, and I imagine the starlings at my window, and I can seem the just as vividly as they looked so long ago. It’s no surprise that I should then dream of them, from time to time…

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Black Bile

The body of man has in itself blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile; these make up the nature of this body, and through these he feels pain or enjoys health. Now he enjoys the most perfect health when these elements are duly proportioned to one another in respect of compounding, power and bulk, and when they are perfectly mingled.

–Hippocrates

It is with some apprehension that I write tonight, as I don’t really want to write about this dream. I don’t want to shine a light on such darkness, or let it out. And yet, I keep having the dream. As if keeping it in somehow empowers the thought and drives me to dream it again and again and again. So tonight: a catharsis in hopes that I should rid myself of this recurring unpleasantry, and to clear out the black bile of melancholy that visits nightly.

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