Sunday, January 3, 2016

Courage in unlikely places...

If you're reading this, then congratulations are in order, because we all made it through another year. A feather in our cap/hat/toupee wherever you'd like it.

Do I reminisce on the year gone by, or do I put forth my set of new year resolutions for the year to come ( I know, I know, those never work, but one can always hope). Maybe wander off in a whole new trajectory of abstractness? That could be fun. So here goes,

If you're ever passing by the park next to the 17th and B, look up the tall maple tree. High up in the branches, you will find a story of hope.

Sitting atop the branches, cradled in her nest, is little Boo. A tiny beak, a sleek coat of blue feathers with a dash of purple, and the brightest little eyes you'll ever see.

Every morning, Boo awakes to the sound of music. The songs of the birds, soaring high above in the sky, gliding with the wind, singing out in joy as the morning sun erupts over the horizon. Boo gazes up through the gap in the maple leaves above, her heart yearning to soar up to them, and glide along into the blue skies, singing her heart out as the rays of the morning sun catches her perfect blue feathers, shining bright, the feel of the wind, rushing by, the heavens above, and the world below.

One day, as her mother left to fetch food, Boo awoke to find music filling the air. She yearned to join them, but she was frail, she did not know how to fly. Her little legs drew her over to the edge of the nest as she gazed out and below. Amidst the gap in the leaves, far below was the green grass, her legs shook, and she tumbled backwards, the little hope, lost.

As her mother returned, Boo nestled herself against her in misery, and with a quiver told her how she longed to fly up and high. She feared she'd never have the courage to learn. Her mother put a wing around her and whispered in her ear, "Soon, you'll fly higher than all those other birds up there, your voice filling up the sky with music and then they'll all look up to you, and wish to be like you, soon". She sang to her a quiet tune, the melody dancing with the wind, through the leaves and branches around them, and Boo felt some of her sadness withering, as she put her head against her mother's and dropped off to a pleasant slumber.

As summer drew to a end, Boo spent her days trying to spread her wings and fly, always under the watchful gaze of her mother. She flapped and huffed and puffed to the edge of the nest, taking tiny little jumps on her way, but as she reached the edge, her gaze drifted to the ground far below, and each time, her legs gave away, her courage abandoned her. Every time she tried, her hopes crumbled away, bit by bit. "Slowly, my child", gently her mother whispered, "Let go of the fear, and soar. That is what you're meant to be, that is your destiny", but poor Boo never could let go of her fears. Her tiny legs withered beneath her as she fell.

As the days went by, her gloom worsened, she fell sick, her spirit beaten, her body weakened. One August evening, there was a big storm. The dark skies rumbled, lightning cut through the air, and the rain poured down like pellets. The wind howled, shaking the sturdy foundations of the maple tree, as the nest swayed and shook. Boo was very scared, as she shivered in close embrace with her mother, her eyes closed tight, wishing and praying for it to end. Her mother, drew her close, reassuring her, but the courage in her voice did not come from her heart, for she too was worried. Little Boo did not know how to fly, and her nest was her sanctuary of safety. If something happened to it in the storm, she'd have nowhere to go.

That was the longest night of Boo's life. The storm raged on till the early hours of morning, the wind howled through the leaves, the clouds spurted thunder and lightning all over in fits of rage, and the nest swayed and shook to the beat of the tree. Her mother's reassuring embrace was her only security, but dark thoughts crossed her mind. With every bolt of lightning, she shivered, what if the next one hits the tree, with every raging gust, her legs wavered, what if she fell, all her failed attempts at flight flashed through her mind, and she cursed her own inability. Her demons were all around her, and she could not flee. She prayed and prayed for the morning light, and the melody of chirping voices that fill up the air, she prayed for courage through the night, eyes shut tight, till her body and mind, weary and beaten, gave away and she fell off into an uneasy slumber.

But as morning came, the clouds withered, the rain stopped, and sunlight poked through the veils of mist. The sound of music once again filled the air, and as Boo opened her weary eyes, her heart skipped a beat in joy. The world around her was the most beautiful that she had ever seen it to be. The rain had washed away the summer dust and the wet grass had never looked greener. The trees, shedding off the last droplets of rain, had found a life of their own, stretching high and wide, and the ground below, soft and covered in a carpet of the first autumn leaves. There was a soft chill in the air, and the birds sang in the blue skies above, it was a new day, a new beginning. Shedding off the wetness in her feathers, Boo got up and walked up to the edge of her nest once more. The ground below did not scare her anymore, the skies above called to her. There was a rustle in the branches above, her mother had returned with food. Gladly she snuggled up to her, "Today, you fly my child" she told her, Boo looked at her, there was quiet confidence in her eyes, and she nodded. "Today I fly".

Standing near the edge of her nest, gazing ahead at the faraway horizons, a soft breeze brushing against her feather, Boo spread out her wings, and took small careful steps. A little jump, a little flutter as she neared the edge, her mother gliding around in careful watch, she looked once at her, and then up at the skies, and jumped. She stuttered, her heart skipped a beat, there was a moment's panic, and she flapped helplessly, but the fear passed the moment it came, and within seconds she felt weightless, she could glide. The wind rushed against her face, as she glided through the canopy of trees up towards the beckoning skies. It was a moment like no other, the sheer joy that overwhelmed her heart was indescribable, as the world passed by below her, looking pristine and small, the skies endless, the horizons limitless, and for the first time in her life, she felt freedom. Her spirit, thus far faded and low, was unconquerable, as she looked around to see her mother flying beside her, pride etched in her eyes, she zoomed up high into the blue skies, a song on her lips, as the sun caught her perfect blue feathers, the glint of purple shining magnificently in the morning light. The other birds, flocked to her, circled her and erupted into a joyous chorus of melodies, that slowly faded into the faraway horizon adorned by the rising sun, a new beginning.

So if you're ever passing by the park next to the 17th and B as I have, look up the tall maple tree. High up in the branches, you will find a story of hope.

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And it is with that hope, of new beginnings and renewed courage that I look forward to this new year. There may be pitfalls and failures along the way, times when courage and faith abandons you, there will be storms, and dark nights, but with every new morning light, a new day and renewed hope shall emerge, the air shall be full of joyous melodies. The skies beckon to you, the horizons are limitless, just spread your wings and fly.

So congratulations once again on making it through another year, the next one shall be awesome. Here's wishing you all a very happy new year, full of joy and new adventures.

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” ― Paulo Coelho

4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Inspiring - and definitely rings a sweet bell in my ears :)

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  3. Remembered Jonathan Livingston Seagull while reading this. :)
    Yes, it is Hope, that keeps us going inspite of all.

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    1. :)

      I'd completely forgotten about Jonathan Livingston Seagull. That used to be a favorite.

      Thank you for reading :)

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