On Friday morning I looked out of the shop window into the plaza and caught sight of a stork, flying southwards, more than likely from a nest in the cathedral, across the plaza, descending gently, just as the ground descends from the Casco Antiguo towards the plain.
The flight of the stork isn't, to my eyes, genuinely graceful, but it is languid: effortless, unhurried, almost without flapping its wings. It seems almost half-asleep, unaware of its surroundings, unaware of the human life below. Or if it is aware of it, unworried by it, and unfrightened. I like that: not just the absence of fear but the absence of interest, the human world unintrusive, our sole significance to the stork the way our roadways function as a map.
When aeroplanes come over the Pyrenees to Zaragoza, they find the Ebro and follow it: I think the storks navigate in much the same way. At least, when I walked the other day along the Paseo Ramón y Cajal, which stretches long and straight eastwards out of Huesca towards Barbastro and Lerida, I saw a stork above me, flying straight and along its length, apparently, therefore, following the road. There is a crossroads some distance along and when I reached it, I saw the stork, some way off the road and to the left, much higher, and circling: as if it had become confused between the two roads and was trying to decide which one it had wanted in the first place.