Is it the same for you? When a flock of birds flies overhead, I’m invariably drawn to watch them. There’s something quite mesmerising about the way in which so many separate creatures come together as one.
Twisting and turning in unison, they wheel through the air as if they have one giant collective brain rather than dozens, or perhaps even thousands, of tiny individual ones.
For a bird, it’s an instinctive way to behave. The average starling is almost certainly not consciously thinking ‘left a bit, right a bit’. Instead, she just flies with her flock.
Of course we humans tend not to exhibit this kind of behaviour (for a start, we lack the wings for airborne stunts) but this certainly doesn’t prevent us enjoying that feeling of being part of something bigger.
Think back to happy periods in your past and it won’t be too surprising if at least some involved being around other people – in some cases, perhaps a lot of other people.
Maybe there were good times in which you ‘belonged’ to something? Your school, a social or religious group, a work team, a youth organisation, a sports team, a book group or an amateur dramatic society for instance?
Slowly and steadily through history we evolved to surround ourselves with our relatives, and also to live in bigger groups consisting of other families as well.
Perhaps we’ve been too quick to simply accept that families must inevitably drift apart, but it’s a fact of life. Few of us live five minutes’ away from parents, brothers, sisters or grown-up children.
So this makes it more important than ever to keep your mind open to the idea of being part of something bigger.
If a starling can do it, perhaps you too can.
(Or should that be you Toucan?)