Look to the flock, to fly

sunset near a power station

Who hasn’t looked up, seen the birds and thought “It would be wonderful to fly”? Since before the written word the dream of flying, that implied sense of freedom and ability to go anywhere on a whim, has been attractive to all.

We’ve managed it, in a variety of ways. Aircraft, parachutes and paragliding, hangliding and now even jetpacks. Each have their advantages and disadvantages. We’ve pursued the majesty of flight and twisted it to work within our limitations.

For us there are no feathers, there is no airworthiness, there is no grace, there are simply devices and engineering that help us defy gravity for some short time. Other than envying their ability for flight and spending a little time sharing their aerial space is there more we can get from birds than simply admiring their plumage?

Certainly there is a lot to learn when it comes to birds. Their unique skeletal structure, the design of their feathers and how it helps them achieve flight and stay aloft. Their muscles and how these move and work together to be strong enough to make flight possible.

Flight and migration patterns, their ability to navigate, diet and where they find their food, flocks and flock sizes, a whole host of information can be gleaned by studying them.

What we sometimes miss, is what we can learn from them. In this regard there is one thing common to all birds capable of flight. It is perhaps not something to be discussed in polite company but it exists nonetheless and it provides a valuable lesson.

Certainly it is not unique to the moment before or after take-off, as birds do it in flight – but far more rarely. What I’m referring to here is that before flight, birds will routinely defecate, disposing of the waste product when leaving the ground.

The thing to learn from this is quite simple, in order to fly you need to ditch the waste, those things holding you back and whatever baggage you might be carrying. Get rid of what you don’t need in order to take to the skies. A simple enough message, if we take the time to learn it.

You won’t get anywhere if you hang on to the things you simply don’t need – and they will impede your flight, making you work harder to achieve the same results.

On a final note, if you have childhood memories anything like mine then you will undoubtedly know Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. Their movies were always a highlight and friend Bud was nothing if not the master of the well-placed PK. You can enjoy They Call Me Trinity and enjoy some of those memories again.

Author: Morné Condon

Automotive journalist in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, following new models, old cars, car clubs and motorsport. My interests are not restricted to the automotive environment, although this is where I am mostly to be found.

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