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ARMANDO NOGUEIRA

Vulture (chronicle)

During a conversation with no clear subject, a friend asks me if I would like to be reborn, in another incarnation, as a tennis-player or footballer. To be frank, the answer is neither one nor the other. Were I given another life to lead, in the future, I’d prefer to come to Earth in vulture’s skin. Not to live by eating carrion, nor to go around dressed as if in strict mourning. But to fly — and fly well. I speak with the authority of one who spends his life flying an ultralight plane, my eyes always on the lookout for the art of gliding which Nature has granted to this navigator of the skies.
Amongst those creatures able to fly, none comes even close to the vulture. The beast is serenity itself. It takes no risk at all. Pilots of delta-wings, gliders, ultralights or anyone who enjoys a good thermal, all follow firmly in the wake of the vulture. Wherever there’s a bubble of hot air, the vulture will undoubtedly be there, gliding, not beating its wings even once.
The seagull is the bird closest to the vulture in terms of tranquility.
The vulture is never in a hurry. His trick is to give wings to the wind. Flying is a mere pastime. The butterfly must die of jealousy: it’s all dressed up, with colourful arabesques, so that each wing looks like a church-window. But how badly it flies! It goes in jerks, hiccup-flight.
Mature, poetic and angelical is the glide of the vulture. When I pass a vulture in my ultralight, it looks back at me from over its shoulder, in disdain of my artificial flight, and onward it goes, powered by miracle.
The flight of the vulture is the most solemn of all. Forget about strict mourning — the vulture flies in full evening-dress."

translation: Simon Fisher