Set Ablaze

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
It's the dawn of life and my eyes widen for the first time. Focusing my brand new eyes, I look around at this world. What is it that's brushing against my dewy feathers? It's cold and loud when it plays with my home in the trees and makes me shiver. My tiny lungs stretch at the sudden responsibility of life. Each new feeling births a new wonder, every sight marks the newest memory. I screech the only noise I know how. I call out for an answer to the empty ache within and for the loss of familiar heat that used to surround me. Suddenly, a giant sets down beside me. Warm, soft, comforting; this must be my nurturer and protector I knew before we even met. Mama. She's come back for me. She pokes her beak to mine and I know it's meant to satisfy my gut's craving, the emptiness. After days, I feel resolute in the routine -- feel hunger, cry, mama comes back with food she's hunted down. Between the hours, I learn. I'm conscious of the other woodland animals and I know we're different from them. Mama and I live way up in the trees and they get around differently, but they can’t fly like she does. It seems to me such hard work to push herself through the air in every direction. Within the beauty I've learned there are dangers, too. Sometimes Mama will caw and screech at a threatening impostor - no matter if it's a stealthy cat, a serpent, or a greater bird. They all have the same starving look when they aim their eyes at me. I know that same feeling of hunger. If Mama lets me wallow in it for too long, I become stubborn and dramatic, pretending she may have nearly killed me. I'm glad to know that threat and discomfort are never longer than the distance from Mama to me.

Jolted awake by a disturbance down on the woodland floor, the air carries a sharp edge of panic with the fleeing, screaming creatures. Clouds too low and too gray creep between the trees close to my once-cozy nest. Mama announces a cry of alert and takes off in the same direction as the trampling crowds. Fear takes over when I realize I’m alone. Trapped. My eyes begin to sting as the air grows deeper and darker, almost too heavy to breathe. A sudden heat overtakes the ground below and begins a rapid climb up the foundation of my home. Death dares tease me, setting in deeper with the dark screen of smoke. Suddenly, instinct takes over and I know exactly what I must try to do. Gathering courage, I stand at my tallest and, gripping the edge of the nest I'd long grown accustomed to, I spread my wings to the burning air. "Pat, pat" go my wings as I test their strength. Either I'll fly out of here as graceful and alive as Mama or I'll drop to my death. The flames give me a warning that I'm short on time as it roars and bites at me hotly. This is it. Every muscle, unexplored and undiscovered, illuminates into a collection of new found strength.
Body clumsily thrown into the air by urgency and power, I command the wind under my wings. Dipping and diving I practice keeping in control of my grace while striving to catch up with my mother headed undoubtedly to safety. After countless long miles, we finally feel we're out of the fire's reach as we settle on the next sturdy, leafy tree. At the realization of the day's events, I begin to shake from the rush of fear and pride at my beautiful ability. I made it. Tomorrow, I can fly anywhere at my own will. Now, it's time to settle in for the night on the branch of a stranger forest weakly lit by a fiercely burning, orange horizon.

Morning comes and exhausted animals reluctantly wake from a long night. With no home to return to, where did they have to go? As the sun rises they slowly disperse to find new, prosperous ground. Mama and I fly back together towards the woods to survey what's left of our home. Ashen frames and skeletons camouflage one nest or tree as indistinguishable from the rest of the forest. A breeze twists and swirls the weak streams of smoke from wearily smoldering coals. The draft tickles the skin under my feathers and freshly fills my lungs. How amazing to be alive. With the grand event now in our past, we fly hastily toward new grounds and our promising future. For if we never had that fire, I'd never have learned to fly.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback