My college graduating class had what my husband Jim would have called a “reunion of significance” this year–one of those reunions that we as undergrads would have witnessed and thought, Damn, they’re old.
And the jackets: how can they be seen in public like that?
Now that we all have joined, to one degree or another, the computer age, it has been possible to reconnect with classmates I haven’t heard from since graduating. One of them is a pilot, and when I told him of Jim’s death he told me that next time he flew he would “tip a wing” for Jim.
Jim would have liked that.
Jim loved to fly. He savored the views from the air; he especially loved taking off. And I, a formerly fearful flier, would clutch his strong hand and slowly relax as we were aloft and he pointed out the wonders below.
Tipping a wing always seemed to be the best way to see those sights.
Our baby robins, now tipping the scales, all took off early this morning. As of yesterday, their heft was so considerable that they overflowed the edges of their magnificent nest. Let’s just say these are no Robins Starveling (a wispy and, if you will, disenchanted Moonshine in Pyramus and Thisbe).
The three babies lined up in profile in the nest and awaited instructions. The bustle was considerable as they began taking off, to the sharply tweeted commands of their mother, circling and weaving, whom they all followed to a particular tree.
I grabbed my camera just as the mother was vectoring back in to lead the last of her progeny out of the nest, and got only a blurred shot as the third plump baby, deep brown eyes and beak set in determination, took off and joined his family, chattering high above in a blossoming tree, sunlit after a days’-long storm.
(c) 2012 Stephanie M. Glennon
2 thoughts on “Tipping a Wing”
I appreciated the Shakespeare reference, and also the great idea of tipping a wing. My brother (dead now), was in the Air Force, and I heard his buddies say they did this too.
I wanted to mention that the MIT versions of Shakespeare have some terrible errors in words and also punctuation, so if you want to read MIDSUMMER, the Arden versions are much more accurate.
All the best,
Meg Patterson (Princeton ’83)
Thank you, Meg. I’m so sorry about your brother. There is something lovely about that airborne tradition.