The memory is enough


One autumnal Sunday I took a trip with my boyfriend and his parents to Oxfordshire. We went to see the starlings perform their magical murmuration. And magical it was.

But here’s the thing. I don’t have any photos to show for it. Not one.

And in this digitally-consumed time, a time of sharing instantly and sharing everything, it’s almost as if it didn’t happen…

It’s as if we didn’t wake up full of hope and excitement for what was ahead.
As if I didn’t talk excitedly about all the research I’d done.
Or pack the car with welly boots and waterproofs just in case.

It’s as if I didn’t sit in the back of the car anxiously worrying: “What if this is a wasted trip?”.
As if there were no nerves when the sunlight started to fade but the journey was still being made.
Or any instant elation when we parked up and saw the sign pointing ‘This way’.

It’s as if there were no hurried steps as we followed the trail to the marshes.
As if there were no starlings, equally hurried, flocking in overhead. Twenty-five, fifty, perhaps even hundreds at a time...
Or any disbelief: “I can't believe this is actually happening!”

It’s as if we didn’t squeal with excitement when we approached the lookout.
As if our disbelief wasn’t reaffirmed when we saw camera after camera, ready to capture the spectacle.
Or there weren’t fluttering bellies or pounding hearts as the aerial acrobatics began.

It’s as if there were no chorus of chirps heard, or “Oohs” and “Aahs” added.
As if the quick glimpses only, through the swaying reeds, didn’t add to the magic.
Or there was no complete contempt, mixed with absolute astonishment, felt afterwards.

I might not have the ‘proof’ we’re now so desperate to share, but I certainly have the memory. And that, for me, is enough.

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