Blue Angels, Eat Your Hearts Out!

It was drizzling a little this morning when I got up, so I didn’t get out till about 9 a.m. I spent half an hour edging the front walk before leaving the house, and by that time the sun was well and truly up and making the streets steam. The rising hot air was obviously generating “thermals,” and as I headed down the street toward the bay I simultaneously noticed (a) a neighbor standing in his front yard gazing skyward and (b) what he was looking at: dozens of seagulls soaring above us. While we watched, more flights joined them until they numbered perhaps as many as a hundred.

As they banked and turned in tight circles, I was reminded that the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, are scheduled to perform at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola (their home base) today and tomorrow. It occurred to me that even if stunt pilots could fly in such close formation, they could not do it in these numbers and certainly not in total silence. How birds achieve this is still a mystery, but it is incredibly beautiful to watch, and I wasn’t surprised to see that everyone I encountered on my walk (as long as they remained in sight) was also looking up.

One person said he didn’t think they looked like our local gulls and wondered if they were migrating, but we both admitted that we hadn’t paid that much attention to what our local gulls look like in flight. To me it just looked like all the local gulls had come out to play, Jonathan Livingston Seagull–fashion, and I was so glad that the timing of my walk had permitted me to see it.

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