I heard them first, then they rose up from the adjacent field, winging toward me. I held still and they came right overhead, a storm of dark feathered electricity. Ten thousand? Twenty? Frankly, who cares about numbers — they were there; I was there. For a minute or two, they settled in the grass around me and in the trees behind. The sounds made by each bird, the grackles’ characteristic creaking and whistling, merged into a rhythmic drumming, like hail beating on a roof. Then, they were gone, leaving me alone, bound to the ground, with static coursing through me.