I was waiting impatiently at the bus stop by the river, mulling over the French homework I’d just finished at speed before leaving home. You can see the bus’s progress from far up the river road. There is usually an enormous youth in baggy pants standing waiting at this time, so I know I haven’t missed the bus if he is there. He seems to talk endlessly to himself but maybe there is some sort of mobile around his person that I haven’t seen. But he does have an odd manner. I leave him to it and idly contemplate the river, the bridge and the boathouse on the opposite side of the road.
The bus is late. I look up at the sky and am confronted with an enormous feather. Does this augur well or badly? If you were a farmer who owned a flock of geese it might be significant. It looks softly white and benign and it’s phenomena like this that led me to becoming a member of The Cloud Appreciation Society. A feather in French is ‘une plume’, a tail or wing feather being ‘une penne’. Our proverb, ‘birds of a feather flock together’ is much more visually satisfactory than the French equivalent, which is ‘(des gens) à mettre dans le même sac (de la même farine)’. A much less satisfactory image somehow. Being scrunched up together darkly in a bag or made out of the same type of flour doesn’t really appeal, however similar one’s ideas may be! But twittering with other likeminded birds sounds fun!
The little red roof of the bus suddenly hoves into view. The enormous youth starts waving his arms around and hitches up his baggy pants. An old woman hobbles along, waving her umbrella above her head to tell the bus to wait for her. She smiles in thanks as I let her get on first. The enormous youth sees his pal on the back seat of the bus. He approaches him with a lumbering gait and adolescent grunts of awkward greeting. I have a double seat to myself. We are all content. And the feather is already changing and dissipating into nothingness as we speed off to our chosen destinations.
Birds of a feather …