#22: Fly

I’m a bird and so are you,

Destined to fly our days beneath the sky’s wide blue,

To sing songs never before sung,

And soar above the ocean’s swirling white-capped tongues.

We might be young,

but we know where we’re going.

So even when our feet are low;

Our thoughts are high,

Courting visions of the day when we’ll finally fly.

But daydreams can’t speed up time,

So is it a crime to enjoy my stay within this ring of sticks?

It may have its stings and pricks,

But I’ve always felt blessed to be in this brood.

Ma, plus Pa, plus me, plus you.

Makes me happy to have the nest that I do.

You and I share a small feathery tent;

We get food, shelter, and encouragement.

There is Ma who feeds us yummy worms,

They slide down just right and make my tummy squirm.

Then there is Father: He leads the nest choir.

With a spirit and lungs that never seem to tire.

Just last week he taught us how to sing

And now we spend every day chirping.

Our song makes us forget the circling wall

And every morning the world hears our call.

Life is grand, and when we stand, we sing.

We practice our jumps and flaps,

Yearning to feel some air underwing

Ma says that we’re almost grown.

and that it’s time we sleep on our own.

But, the night is scariest when I’m alone

It’s cold and the shadows move unknown

I can’t sleep. You can’t sleep.

So, some nights, we cuddle for heat,

On others we huddle for protection.

Sometimes we huddle and cuddle just to feel a bird-to-bird connection.

Things go on this way and I’m getting used to the stay

We still talk about leaving,

But it’s always “some day”

Never thinking that one day,

That Day would be “today”.

And then..

I just heard a rumor!

A little bird told me:

“The Day” is only a week away.

I’m scared.

I’m excited.

The hugs are extra tight that night,

And I feel strong standing next to you.

We peer over the edge and laugh at the view.

Ma and Pa flap in that night to deliver the news,

I’m leaving, they say, but not you.

You’re staying for another week;

You’re not coming with me.

I’m scared.

I’m so scared.

I don’t want to leave.

On closer inspection, the ground looks more like a graveyard.

Each molehill is a mountain of great height,

Ready to laugh at my pitiful plight.

Every rock is ready to mock a failed flight,

and the stones ready to break my fall.

None seem appalled or stirred,

about the inefficiencies of just one bird.

Pa always says, “Every-bird leaves the nest eventually.”

But the words feel used and heavy,

No use for a beating heart and chest heaves.

I spent all my time preparing to leave,

But I always thought I’d have you at my wing

To stop me from shaking..

To keep my head held high.

To make me want to fly.

I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again, if I’ll find you again,

and I don’t know if I’ll want to, then.

But I do! Now! I want to stay here.

Play, cheer, and laugh as all the silly birds leave home.

They don’t know how much they’re leaving.

Security. Comfort. Fun.

All the worms they can eat and all of their close ones.

The day finally arrives.

The sunrise is the same as the others in the past.

But did it always climb the sky so fast?

We face each other, eye to eye,

We hug and say our good-byes.

Ma and Pa are here too; they stand on either side of me.

To offer me comfort and to make sure that I leave.

I try to give you a brave smile,

To let you know it’s not that bad,

Until I see your eyes cloudy and sad.

A tear runs down; my face stops lying.

Ma nods, and I jump off crying.

“Woah, I’m falling” is the first thought.

Caught by surprise I guess,

I can hardly catch a breath.

I’ve never witnessed this part.

I’ve only seen the start, when birds drop off the end,

and the graceful arc that resurrects them,

High in the sky and back into view.

My stomach feels queasy and sick

I can’t fly and I’m starting to panic.

There isn’t an instruction manual.

As I spiral towards the ground, straight down,

Feathers are flying everywhere, but I’m flying nowhere,

Again, Pa’s words are whispered by the air

“It is something that just happens.”

Strangely, I don’t want it to happen.

I don’t want to pull up, pull out, or pull through.

I don’t want a life without my parents, without a nest, without you.

And so I fall to escape.

But just as the rocks begin to take shape,

A second thought occurs to me:

There’s only one way to see you again.

It’ll be in the sky, and there might not be hugs, then.

But it’s a chance worth flying for.

I shake my head, blink and I suddenly see the floor.

It’s a whole lot closer than before.

Another thought: I cannot think anymore,

I have to figure out how to fly, quick!

I spread my wings, with a flick

and feel air push hard against them.

I skim above the rocky floor,

and then rise with that arc I know you’re looking for.

I flap my now-useful wings,

once, twice to be sure,

And then fly off, looking towards the future.

I wish there was a way to tell you.

To impart the knowledge that can only be learned, never taught.

The knowledge that our parents wanted us to know:

That it will be okay.

That the sun will rise tomorrow, the same as it has done before.

That we are birds, destined for greater than a child’s nest.

And that our feathers feel best, pressed and outstretched against the breeze.

So when you’re alone, falling from heaven above into rocks below

Don’t give up; don’t cry.

Birds don’t jump to die; we jump so we can fly.


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