It is just before dusk, in the middle of September….
A crowd is beginning to gather on the dry, grassy hill above the school. It is a warm night, and the crowd is startlingly diverse; people dressed in three piece suits, people wearing more tattoos than cloth, families, children, newborns, grandmas being assisted into a waiting camp chair, folks in wheelchairs, the family dog in all shapes and sizes.
There is a congenial buzz of excitement in the air. The picnicking begins, and menus include everything from pizza and doritos to kale chips and hummus. Some families have festive matching blankets and pillows, with state of the art beach chairs; others just sit on the hard ground and try not to slide down the steep slope onto the soccer field. (note to self: stiletto heels might be more practical than birkenstocks in this case)
Cameras are at the ready. All eyes are on the sky, and the old brick chimney. They hope to see the same sight they have been coming for years to see. It is action drama. It is airborne fractal ballet. It is the best kind of family entertainment–a beloved community event that happens every night in September.
What is it? Called ‘one of Portland‘s most spectacular natural events’ it is the annual nesting of Vaux’s Swifts in Chapman Park.
It is where humanity is at its best–when we gather as families and friends, to share a meal, a moment of wonder, a mutual awe of the natural world.
[Daily post challenge: interpret the theme humanity]