There is a German word I loved at first sight: Zugunruhe.

It’s a compound word that was coined more than 300 years ago to describe the restlessness (or anxiety) of songbirds who are ready to migrate. They hop, flutter, and whir their wings endlessly. They literally can’t stand still.

The phenomenon was first observed in captive songbirds. Even in their cages, with nowhere to go, they could feel something stirring. They could tell that it was time.

Tell me this isn’t an irresistible metaphor.

Tell me you’ve never felt restless because it was time to go somewhere, even if it wasn’t yet clear that there was somewhere to go.

Tell me you’ve never felt a surge of anticipation for something you can’t yet see.

Tell me you’ve never known something without knowing how or why.

Tell me you’ve never known beyond a doubt—it is time.

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