All through August and September
tens of thousands, of feathered
creatures pass through
this place and I almost never see
a single one. The fall
wood warbler migration goes by here
every year, all of them,
myriad species, all looking sort of like
each other, yellow, brown, gray,
all muted versions of their summer selves,
from each other, at least to me, although
definitely not to each other,
all flying by, mostly at night, calling to each
other as they go to keep
the flock together, saying: chip, zeet,
buzz, smack, zip, squeak—
sounds reassuring that we are
all here together and
heading south, all of us just passing
through, just passing
through, just passing through, just
~David Budbill “Invisible Visitors”
Some feathered travelers slip past us unseen and unheard. They may stop for a drink in the pond or a bite to eat in the field and woods, but we never know they are there – simply passing through.
Others are compelled to announce their journey with great fanfare, usually heard before seen. The drama of migration becomes bantering conversation from bird to bird, bird to earth, bird to sun, moon and stars, with unseen magnetic forces pointing the way.
When not using voices, their wings sing the air with rhythmic beat and whoosh.
We’re all together here — altogether — even when our voices are raised sharply, our silences brooding, our hurts magnified, our sorrows deep, so our route of travel becomes a matter of debate.
Our destination is not in dispute however. We’re all heading to the same place no matter how we get there.
We’re all just passing through, just passing through, just passing through.