Have you ever wanted to do something just once,
Only once and never again, and then have it be as if
You'd never done it at all?
It was summer, like now:
Hot, hazy, sweaty--even in the evening.
The brook ran low, between banks covered with alders,
Overhanging, tall, immense;
The mountains were purple, indefinite through the mist;
The pines looked almost black.
You could smell the summer--scents from the marsh--
Things in their prime--you could hear them,
Tweeting and chirping and buzzing and peeping and croaking,
And barking and hooting:
Dead mid-summer--hot, sticky, buggy.
After the sun set, but before it was dark,
When you can still see, but everything's a different color,
I stood on the old bridge
Where the brook runs under the back road
On its way from the marsh, down through the village,
To the big river and the lake beyond.
I was looking up towards the plateau, trying to lose myself,
When around the bend, banking against the alders,
In formation, like separate missiles shot from different cannons
At the same moment, at the same velocity,
In the same direction
With systems to navigate and turn, elevate and descend, dart,
Follow the stream bed,
And stay exactly the same distance from each other,
Like an entity with an awareness
The no one part could experience,
Came a flight of bats, moving too quickly to count.
They rocketed under the bridge,
Appeared on the other side, raced
Down a straight stretch, veered right
And disappeared with the brook into the meadows
Headed for the dark pines, the rapids and beyond.
You could hear the swish of their wings as they passed
And their high-pitched pings, like the highest notes on a harp.
In a blink they were gone, in their ecstasy flying on,
And I wanted to be them, all of them at once--
I think there is a consciousness in a well-coordinated group that no one
member can experience--that's why I wanted to be all of them.