You have to feel for them. Every year, it’s the same thing, back and forth, north to south and south to north. And it’s not by choice, of course. It’s been this way for generations.
The path back north this year was just like every other spring trek, every journey after the long winter. They followed the same landmarks and rested in the same places along the way. Imagine making a trip like that based on hope and hope alone. They actually believe that they will be able to survive once they get there. Maybe they have no choice. Maybe hope has become instinctual.
The first of them came into town today, kind of loitering around the public places. The locals didn’t pay them much mind, but neither did they offer some warm welcome. Just another competitor for scarce resources. They shouldn’t worry so much; they make their living differently than the others.
I looked out the window and watched a couple of them this morning. I wondered if I should try to strike up a conversation, offer some kind of help. But they were indifferent to me as they walked the ground, looking for the next chance for a good meal.
Their orange breasts broadcast the return:
A worm here, a worm there, Robby’s back in town.