the mockingbird took a single step into the air and dropped. his wings were still folded against his sides as though he were singing from a limb and not falling, accelerating thirty-two feet per second per second, through empty air. just a breath before he would have been dashed to the ground, he unfurled his wings with exact, deliberate care, revealing the broad bars of white, spread his elegant, white-banded tail, and so floated onto the grass. i had just rounded a corner when his incouciant step caught my eye; there was no one else in sight. the fact of his free fall was like the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest. the answer must be, i think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. the least we can do is try to be there.
- annie dillard [emphasis mine]