“The ‘human’ character, the ‘human’ character,” my dad shouted in an earlier life, possibly circa 1940’s in Malaysia (then Malaya). You’d need to contact my dad if you want to hear it in Hakka, the dialect group he was raised in and used to utter the above line.
“That was what we yelled excitedly when we saw the formations of birds flying overhead,” dad explained. “These days, you don’t see them anymore.”
The flyby formation of migrating flocks has the shape of 人 (ren), the Chinese character/pictogram for human. What a nice way for kiddies to learn basic Chinese. The sky as your black…or rather, blue board.
This morning, as I was doing a spot of cloud watching, a fleet of birdies winged by in 人-alignment. They were too high up for me to ID them. Maybe these nomads were returning home after hiding out in Africa during winter. Today is the first day of spring and this bunch is right on time. A naturalist (can’t remember which one) noted that birds checking in on time is a good sign that things are in order.
FT’s Harry Eyres’ take on air-borne nomads: Flight of Fancy.