Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Starlings in Rome

Outside Stazione di Roma Termini, packs heavier 
on our backs than the elation we feel at having 
finally arrived, we stand as lost as any tourist. 

The specific foreignness of it all impresses us
so heavily, extricated from our familiar selves by the 
most mundane of things. People mill nearby in 

casual entrances and exits. Above us, an arcane  
dance: The coffee-filter swarm of starlings at flight, 
weaving so intricately that time below seems suddenly 

irrelevant. Few people notice them, the thousands of 
birds, perhaps they are so common here that locals 
are simply immune to their magic. I once read about 

a syndrome of sorts, that some suffer seizures after 
viewing too many extravagant cathedrals, too much 
extraordinary art, something in hindsight I might think 

a good way to go. I don’t know if it’s true. You noticed 
me noticing them, the birds, and we stared together 
seeking meaning. One saw birds, merely starlings, the 

other saw the possibility that within their flight was the 
shape of God’s own DNA in constant motion, ever  
reinventing, the single breath of enlightenment.

--Martin A. Bartels (working draft) 


  1. Coffe filter swarm - sand grains of sugar spilled on the sky. Do we really notice the tiny parts of beauty in our shoes?
    Off topic- seeds that monsanto did not monkey with? I believe the cherry tomato (the heartiest fruit known repoduces in concrete) could sustain me if I had just a few other things.

  2. Thanks for your comments! My .org, Seed Programs International, does not distribute genetically modified seeds. In part because of our own concerns (the last thing starving people need is seed that might create other problems), but also because many countries will not accept them.

    I'm partial to Sungold cherry tomatoes myself, and pretty much any tomato come to think of it, especially when paired with perfect cheese and wine.