I have written about this before. Driving from Palau to Castelló, across the Aiguamolls, a tsunami of starlings unfurls in the sky, and I am encompassed by their path. They wheel and return, settle in a paddock behind me, where there are horses. I park the car at the side of the road and film them on my phone. I have accepted the notion that they swarm in these glorious, rhythmically unfolding patterns out of sheer exuberance, and whenever I witness their aerial displays I am overwhelmed by a subtly swerving joy, and I understand a little better the urge to dance . . .
Reading Jean-Christophe Bailly’ The Animal Side, I find this lovely passage about watching a murmur of starlings:
‘ . . . one evening on the Loire and over a period of hours, the perpetual movement of a flock of starlings endlessly forming liquid figures, a triangulation of black dots departing, then suddenly turning back like iron filings attracted by an invisible magnet moving in the sky. Nothing more, perhaps: only flight, the idea of flight, embodied in flight as we see it and as it comes and goes before our eyes – and precisely as if there were in it, in its very dependence and in its pure effect of law, of a law actualized, a condensation of what is not only free but truly liberated and activated in the sky, the signature of pure intoxication with living, in a singular and dreamy beat.’
So I dig out this sequence of photos I took three years ago, on the road from Perelada to Mollet, with the Alberas behind, and the starlings doing their thing, writing a poem on the sky.