“Observe intently the birds of heaven . . .” — Jesus Christ, son of God
Not many sights drive humans to envy and to the very limits of our ability, but it only takes an upward gaze to remind us of, perhaps, the one thing man will never be capable of: flight, the avian way.
Yes, we do fly — to the skies and beyond, in fact — but not even the elegance and convenience of our most sophisticated aircrafts and shuttles rivals the ease and magnificence with which birds, the real masters of air travel, soar. But, while we will never quite match their superior aerial feats, there remains something — one thing, at least — that we could emulate, if we tried.
Rough estimates place the number of bird species in the world between 10,000 and 13,000 — maybe more — with the total number of individual birds perched at 200-400 million. Each day, the vast majority of these litter the sky and, yet, there is no shortage of — nor competition for — space.
The big boys — eagles, vultures, hawks, et al. — boss the streets, yes, but smaller species still find plenty of room to roam. And, really, it’s the latter that make the whole experience of bird-watching such a pleasure with their bright colors, sometimes in dazzling combinations. It’s a spectacle worth savoring — even capturing, as Jonah Yankson has so brilliantly done here — when the birds fly low enough, or settle altogether. The sheer delight of such beauty and variety isn’t lost on us, but the point often is.
In today’s cut-throat world of industry, there only seems enough space and opportunities for the big and powerful. Smaller enterprises, flashing brighter ideas but flexing little muscle, often have their wings plucked out. Competition is, of course, good for business; the more the merrier, enabling everyone to fly high — and free, just as the birds do — and to thrive.