I looked up into an autumn sky today still as blue as summer and was bewildered by beauty. The cry of cockatoos, white, yellow-crested, sounded like a woodwind ensemble. A screeching song in unison – reedy, raspy, rising up to the penultimate note like a cry to heaven.
The cockatoos spread their wings, hundreds of them, maybe thousands, speckling the ground with shadow. I tottered, no longer sure-footed, squinting as if clouds had gathered. Together, as if led by a conductor, the wings began to beat, cleaving the air.
I held up my hands, a supplicant, catching the soft, feather-driven wind; a caress that would drive the hardest heart to tears. The cockatoos moved into formations – a theatre in the sky, perfectly synchronised, facing the sun, turning, pivoting, shimmying. I looked at the ground where the shadows bounced and when I looked back up they were flying away, as swift as blinking.
For moments I couldn’t look away, wondering at the lightness of the sky clear now of birds but not of joy. If life could be like this it would be easy to go on. If life could be like this it would not be hard to discover what happiness is. If life could be like this each day would be enough.