We fill our plates with chicken and salad and rolls, we eat with our eyes contentedly grazing on the countryside, in shade as temperate as the air of Eden, colored gold by hickory leaves.  And then, as Charity rises to her knees to help us to more, she freezes, tilts her head listening, and makes a shushing motion with her free hand.  “Oh, listen.  Listen!”

A sound like big crowd a good way off, excited and shouting, getting closer.  We stand up and scan the empty sky.  Suddenly there they are, a wavering V headed directly over our hilltop, quite low, beating southward down the central flyway and talking as they pass.  We stay quiet, suspending our human conversations until their garrulity fades and their wavering lines are invisible in the sky.

They have passed over us like an eraser over a blackboard, wiping away whatever was there before they came.  – Wallace Stegner, “Crossing to Safety”

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