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English: Bird flying from the branch. In the b...

Now you can imagine my horror. I mean, this is my mother we’re talking about. My mother. The one who gave birth to me, fed me, nurtured me, puked up food for me. And there she was on the branch hopping and squawking and flapping her feathers telling me to go, to jump.

Go on, she said, you’ve got wings, just like me, you need to use them. You can’t expect me to fly around, find food, come back and puke it up for you your whole life. You need to get out on your own, fly, find your own food. You’re too big. Stop mucking around. We’ve all done it. Now it’s your turn.

I tried to get past her and back into the nest, but she pecked at me and ruffled her feathers and squawked some more. I begged her to let me in, but she was having none of it.

Bugger off, she told me. Grow up. Fly, you layabout.

But I mean, I told her, you’ve got to be kidding. Can’t you see how high up we are? I tried to reason with her, tell her how I wasn’t ready. I was big, sure, but I needed to practise first. In the nest where it’s safe. I could lift myself up, hover, teach the others before they left. I liked the nest. Why would I leave? She’s fed me my whole life. How am I supposed to know what to look for?

I said no, I’m not going, and with a little jump tried to push past her again. I didn’t know what dangers were out there. In the nest I wouldn’t die. I’d be safe. I could help her raise the next generation, make sure each one got its fair portion of food so there was no fighting or picking on the runt. She could just fly off whenever she liked. She liked flying. I didn’t. At least it didn’t look like fun from up there on the branch. It looked like a death wish.

And you know what she said? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. And with a flurry of pecking and squawking knocked me off.

I fell and flapped and flew and never spoke to her again. How can you forgive such cruelty, even if I’m alive and well? She turned me into who I am, you say, but I had no choice in the matter.

Now go on. Jump. If you don’t, I’ll peck your eyes out.

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21 thoughts on “Learning to Fly

  1. I can empathise with the mother, it is tough some times but opportunities like this have to be gone through.

  2. I dig when I get a Like from a writer I’ve never read and discover something like this. Great, clever little tale I could relate to from both sides and the last line totally made me laugh out loud.

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