Perfect for fall, this poem by Chelsea Nelson at Heartbeat Nosh evokes the unimaginable magnitude of what the birds are doing this time of year: flying thousands of miles nonstop just following the sunlight.
By Chelsea Nelson
While in flight, we can sleep,
turn off half our winged brains
with the shutting of one eye –
and still glide over oceans
during warm thermal currents,
enlarging our hearts in weight.
A nine second break to replenish,
rest, and wane.
To reverse a sleep pattern,
to waken when sleep wants to
overtake, must take the strength
that only one hundred mid-flight
slumbers can provide.
This journey means life and
after all, we can sleep like
the dead when the thousands of
miles are behind our tail feathers.
Often, we are nothing more than
common birds, hovering over
sun-warmed tides that carry
us when our wings begin to
thicken with fatigue. But when
we cross the Atlantic in just one
sunrise to the next, we are nothing
less than songbirds creating
time and space between each
unilateral eye closure.