I had a camera, yet to stop would have lost too much time.

Instead, I rushed through a nature reserve on my bike, as fast as my legs would spin: breathless, heart pumping, manic. Surya was by my side. The sun was setting. The sky was alight. Behind us, purple. Before us, red. Brilliant, vermilion red. The reeds were aglow. The trees on fire. For a minute, a barn owl floated beside us. And all the while, flock after flock, wing after wing, starling after starling poured in. Now above us, now at our side. Moving with us as if we too were birds. And then they met, somewhere ahead, and briefly became one enormous, quivering mass. A giant orb of iridescent feathers, black against a fading sky.