A feral pigeon – of the street variety, common across the country and abundant in all cities – is startled by the roar of a descending jet plane. Infected blood pumps through its heart and lungs and the muscles of its breast, to beat its feathered wings, rotten with canker and internal parasites and the open oozing sores and welts under an anaemic plume. It will die within a month. Perhaps sooner with the threat of: cats, prevention spikes on public buildings, poisons, the introduction of peregrine falcons, and the like.
Described as pests and vermin, no love is lost between man and pigeon. Those avian carriers of disease and squalor. For what purpose do they exist but for mercurial defecation on pavements, roofs, cars and helpless walkers below? They have some supporters of course. The elderly will continue to feed them crumbs from the park benches and the young will chase with childish, harmless glee.
But of what does a pigeon comprehend? And yet, it lives, it thrives? Yet, it lives.
Above the pigeon a seven-four-seven (747) soars thousands of feet above. Aboard sit passengers. Passengers or freight or both. Those on board returning from sunnier climes, several bringing an end to holidays, short breaks, honeymoons, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. And so the mood is terse – for whatever it is, it is over. The weather in the capitol is standard. Grey and overcast. Paradise lost.
Mechanical and defying gravity, four jet engines propel its autonomous body from continent to continent, land to land. Loose bolts throughout, a failing pressure gauge in the cockpit, numerous electrical faults in cabins and kitchens. The machine, it is well looked after. Analysed, tested. Worn but in safe hands. Passengers aboard settled in for the journey. Three courses and popular television.
As if the sky has been conquered, and that is that.
Flight can be achieved in more than one way.
© Nicholas J. Parr, 2015