Koji is already circling the pond. That’s our cue that it’s time to go. He’s our alpha. Of course, the boys have all noticed, and we are ready. The girls are still huddled together, chattering among themselves.
Koji usually leads when we ride. He’s a machine. The stronger boys-me included-will draft behind, and then the girls after, using whatever order they follow.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s no formation rule. We all have fun when we travel. We migrate thru the formation, meet up with friends, and chat the miles away. Except for Koji. He’s all sweat and determination. It’s like he’s invented a new language. He’ll find the time when we’re done traveling.
Occasionally, someone else will lead. They don’t let me though; I have bad eyesight. There was the one time I mistook a junkyard for a rest area. There were dogs. It was bad.
I stretch my legs one last time, get a running start, and take to the air. Above, over the rush of air thru the feathers of my crest and wings, I can hear Koji calling to the girls.