Libby leaned against a post on the porch. The air was still, the trees bare against a cloudless sky. A black line appeared like a silk scarf waving from the east along the horizon. Blackbirds. She’d been waiting for them. Their fluid formation drew first nearer then farther away, then swooped down to earth and up against the heavens. The designs they made changed every second: a fish, a ribbon, a platter, a bit of paper curled in the wind widening into a broad banner that rippled and rolled in on itself, then swelling into a cloud. At some unseen signal, the flock spiraled and turned suddenly, specks in the sky, and then turned again into distinct bird bodies with beating wings, evenly spaced. Closer and closer they came, until at last they swarmed into the nearby trees and settled on branches, thick as leaves and full of chatter. She stood motionless against the post knowing full well they’d flare up at the slightest movement. Maybe they collected prayers, collecting them for delivery to the Lord, in which case she would send one with them about being as free as they were and part of some great, wonderful expanse she knew nothing about.
from Elizabeth’s Field, by B. Lockhart