Friday, February 08, 2008

Flamenco like Flamingos

Driving to work this morning, I spotted several birds scuttling about on a bald landscape on the side of the road. The road in front of my neighborhood is under construction, so dust floated through the air in thick clouds. As the dust swirled around the birds, one struck a pose. With his wings dramatically in front of him and his black feathers glinting in the sunlight, he cocked his head and looked up into the sky. Curious, I rolled my window down.

"It is time..." he announced, spreading his wings so they fanned outward, "to dance!" Turning quickly, he strutted around the dusty ground and fluttered his wings. Another bird pirouetted through the dirt, leaving a small tornado of dust behind her. Several other birds joined in the frenzy, swirling around in a circle around the two birds.

"We shall flamenco," the first bird called as his partner fanned her feathers in front of her face coyly. "We shall flamenco like the flamingos!"

"The flamingos!" one bird cried. "No one can dance like the flamingos!"

The black bird tossed his head cockily. "They have not seen me," he replied. With that, the dance began.

As I crept forward through the traffic, I watched the two birds bow their heads to each other. To the beat of honking horns, rattling engines and growling machines, the birds began an intricate series of steps as gusts of dust blew around them. The birds would hop to the left, then bend to the right and sweep their wings from one point of the ground to another point. They would approach each other and turn away only to twirl back to each other. The other birds circled the two, flapping their wings as their feet crossed over each other in a grapevine step. Every so often, one of the two birds would touch and gaze into their partner's eyes before fluttering away.

As I pulled away, I caught a glimpse of the end of the dance in my mirror. The black bird was standing behind his dance partner, his wings spread so the tips were touching over his head in a dramatic flair. She had bowed her head demurely and tucked her beak under her wings. The other birds had stopped twirling, letting the air settle down around their tiny feet.

"And that," the black bird bellowed as I drove away, "That is a flamenco worthy of flamingos."