Learning how to fly

I realize that my last post was about baby birds and that this one will be, too. It’s just that time of year. Everywhere I go, I see and hear birds and their babies. It’s quite sweet. This morning, during a walk around the pond at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, I was treated to sightings (and sounds) of a dozen or more types of bird, from robins, swallows, and wrens to red-winged blackbirds, mourning doves, and cardinals. Add a few great blue herons, several dozen turtles of various species, two groundhogs, and a wild turkey and I’d call it an active morning, indeed.

One thing that I love about spring and summer is the opportunity to bear witness to the natural world in a period of intense action: turtles mating, birds nesting, fish jumping in the stream, frogs returning to the pond, grasses regaining their bright green hue, leaves unfolding into immense grandeur…and me in the middle of it all, just observing. It does my spirit SO good to be a part of it in some small way.

Last evening, in the tranquility of the graveyard at my church and during a gentle rain, I was blessed to see an adult robin teaching a young one how to fly. The pair caught my eye because their movements were distinctly different: the adult, with her recognizable pattern of plumage, was graceful as she lifted off from a tree branch, flapped her wings a few times, and coasted to an easy stop on a gravestone. The young one, whose charcoal gray downy feathers made him look plump, almost appeared to get a running start before jumping, flapping his wings awkwardly and frantically as he descended towards the ground before finally figuring it out and rising up again to come to a screeching halt next to the adult on the stone. It made me laugh out loud.

I continued to watch with awe and wonder: this time, the adult bird chirped and next thing I knew the young one was flying from the gravestone to another tree branch — without her lead and taking a slightly longer journey this time. He continued to get the hang of it, taking ever longer trips from object to object, while the adult robin followed him either with her eyes, or occasionally flying to wherever he landed.

My mind immediately wandered to the times in my life when I had to learn how to “fly” — whether learning how to forgive myself, using a new tool in my recovery from Binge-Eating Disorder, gaining assertiveness skills, or practicing spiritual awareness. Like learning to fly, each of these things were developed over time, and required the guidance and support of someone more experienced, be it a parent, a friend, a counselor, or a pastor. It struck me as important to note that the young robin wasn’t alone on his brief journeys. He may have felt like he was — the adult was not always flying with him — but he was being watched and if he had fallen, the adult would have done whatever she could to encourage him to get back up.

Is there a young, as-yet-unnurtured, part of you that needs to learn how to fly? Who could you turn to for support as you increase your courage and take that first leap into the air?

Peace, joy, and health.



4 thoughts on “Learning how to fly

  1. Leslie Neshama says:

    Dear Megan: Thank you for this post of your ideas and observations. It is poetic and nuanced, and even painful, but I am so grateful that you have written and shared it. Thanks, Megan.
    The part of me that is poised for flight is my sense of worth. When I am open with my friends and support circle, I often share how deeply worthless I feel at times. Often I can know that I am a good person and that many people love me and care for me, but it is as if I have an anorectic way about feeding myself these feelings. I am starving, the foods of self-respect and love are there, and I often reject that nourishment.
    So there I stand today.
    I am the baby bird.
    ~~My brother and I were abused as children, but my beloved brother, now deceased, grew up to be a pilot, and an air traffic controller. I believe he truly yearned for the freedom of flight, and his work as an ATC, was perhaps a deep seated way of finally, finally controlling the chaos we grew up with.
    Nonetheless, he was a revered air traffic controller, and expert pilot.
    🙂 🙂 I need to fly more.
    Please keep writing, Megan.
    We, each of us, are the wind beneath our wings!
    Peace and love,

    • getoutofbedonedayatatime says:

      Dear Leslie, I thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and some of the pain you’ve experienced. It’s amazing to me how we relate to stories…you saw yourself as the baby bird that day and I saw myself as the momma bird. It probably changes from day to day. But metaphors and stories are wonderful ways to tap into our thoughts about ourselves. Thank you for encouraging me to continue to share and read stories.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s