The jungle had been strangely quiet. The sun had been rising as I watched, beginning to cast its golden rays over the uneven trees and rolling hills. Cries of macaws rang out across the sky, their culprits soaring in the distance, silhouetted against the lightening clouds. I had been told that birds could see anything and everything moving on the ground, but even so I wondered if they bothered to notice me as they looped and spun freely through the air. What concerns crossed their minds? What thoughts occupied their waking hours? These were the things that I wanted to find the answers to.
I had always dreamed that I would one day meet a macaw. I had walked into the dark forest in an attempt to speak with the most beautiful creature on the planet and ask it these questions, but so far I had not been graced with the conversation that I sought. Glimpses of them flying in the distance like this had been stolen, to be sure, but the beauties had always been too far away for me to try and call out and expect a response.
The jungle began to come to life with the dawn. Birds called out to one another, insects took up a chorus of sound, and other creatures began to rustle and slither through the underbrush. I was just wondering if I should leave, if I would ever see one of these macaws up close at all when one landed on a branch just a few feet in front of me with barely a sound.
Its wings possessed a deep blue plumage and it stood tall with a golden body and emerald green crest, colors that clashed with the dark greens of the jungle around me as they radiated from the bird’s ruffled feathers. Its eyes, small but full, regarded me with curiosity, and its scuffed and scratched beak hung half-open as if it were about to speak or was simply smiling in wonder.
We spoke as we looked into each other’s eyes, and all too soon the bird spread its long wings and took to the sky once again. A solitary feather, blue edged with gold, floated to the ground, a gift from my new and old friend. That feather now sits on my desk at home, a vivid reminder of my encounter with the world’s beauty.
I’ve spent time thinking since then, and in the end I think that the beauty of a macaw is that it doesn’t know that it’s beautiful. The bright feathers, the intelligent eyes, the magnificent wings. A macaw doesn’t vainly flaunt these things. It doesn’t cry out for attention. The blue and gold dream that I met was a dream because of its imperfections; because it didn’t need to smooth out its roughened feathers or shine its scratched beak to be perfect. And that is why I can appreciate it; why I find the creatures so fascinating. And as I thought these things as I looked at the feather....
I wondered why that macaw was so interested in me.