There is a time of day at Western Academy, when the clamor of boys and toil of teachers does finally end. It is an hour, late in the evening, when most Houstonians sup and tell tales amongst themselves. And while merry-mankind sups, the mood of that verdant school mellows to one which offers a quiet refuge to winged-creatures and men alike, tired from flight and labor. It is an hour when birds play and chirp greetings, stories, and songs to one another from tree to tree. And if any soul were to walk around the school at this hour, he would surely see some of their happy games and hear a few of their joyful tunes.
Just yesterday, a wary scribe came upon the grassy knolls of the front field, to see if the birds would be his muse. Admittedly, this scribe was largely ignorant of the nuances of meaning inherent in the bird tongue, which not only uses vocal units of meaning, but the body language of flight patterns as well. He was nevertheless pleased at their soft sound and airy movements amid the calm atmosphere, much more than he would have ever been at the roaring of that behemoth: I-10. He was even able to piece together some fragments of the song that all those resting in the high branches put forth.
These birds related that they had found paradise in the metropolis of men and that they were happy to sing of it. What came next was a tune concerning the final exploits of the Green Jay track team, and how their trials had brought joy to all who fly in the sky above. Their first round of warbling told how the long-striding seventh grader Bruno Castilla had taken bronze in the 2400 meter that week. They then took to a seemingly wild flight, and as they whisked round and round beneath the amber rays of the setting sun, the scribe sensed how proud they were of boys like Johnny O’Bar, Christopher Tufaro, and Mathew Higgins, for steadfastly serving their school in a number of events they had never previously attempted.
It was then that a few cocky purple martins seemed to reenact several races, using the driveway as their make-shift track. They swooped up and down across one length as if they were sure-footed Luke Anigbogu, Warren Brown, or Joey Davidson in the hundred-meter hurdle, all of whom had taken first in their heats. The martins then darted straight toward the great oak tree, as if they now relived the 100-meter dash where Anigbogu easily took first and Haden Gabel second. At this point, the hens and rooster on the other side of campus must have surely seen the show, for they all cockled with delight.
Throughout the excited flight of some of the younger winged-folk, there were some grayer mourning doves gazing dolefully from the power lines above, who let out a sighing tune. The tired tone of their speech was surely alluding to the exhausted legs of the young Green Jays, who had battered and bruised them in the house games the day before. Though, it was not all pain in the sigh of these birds, who perhaps had seen far too much of this world; in there also, was a faint sound of appreciation at how the sixth-grade team, made up of Josh Hebert, Nate Twardowski, Christopher Tufaro, and Luke Anigbogu, still managed to take third in and 4x400 relay despite their pains.
The sun then faded rapidly on that evening, and slowly the birds began to quit their showmanship and yarn-spinning. After sitting and watching the birds for a time, the scribe felt top heavy; his mind was full of the exploits of the Western runners, but his stomach now longed for supper. The birds were fine muses. For how could they not be after witnessing the toils of the school-boy, the teacher, and the dutiful parent day after day? How could the birds themselves not be inspired by both the athlete and the bard, who in their combined exploits make a living monument more lasting than bronze? Hark, reader! Listen before you go. The next time you look up at the birds and scoff at the seeming frivolity of their actions—stop—betake thyself to a grassy knoll, see if they would tell you things that enliven the sinews of the soul.