Friday, March 22, 2013

Learning To Fly

As winter continues its seemingly endless temper tantrum here in the Northeast, signs of spring, although rare, are starting to show themselves. The one I look for with the most anticipation, or I should say "listen for," is the return of the birds that flew off for warmer climates before the first snow flake hit the ground. There is nothing more beautiful to wake up to in the morning than a robin's song outside of your window.

Part of the anticipation of the birds coming back is the eventual debut of the newest members of the family. I have a front row seat at my window as the moms with their new offspring come to the feeder and enjoy whatever bounty I have put out for them. The little ones sit on the railing with their tiny beaks open, crying away while mom flies to the feeder, gets some seed, and flies back to put it in their mouths. No sooner has she given them some then they are crying for more and she is off again to the feeder. They hop and flutter up and down in excitement as she continues her back and forth delivery system. I notice that even the smallest of them can execute some pretty remarkable feats of aviation although they are not steady enough for a steep climb or or deep dive. They are learning, day by day, from the time they break out of their shells until they take their first tentative step out of the nest and onto a nearby branch. One step at a time, one flutter at a time.

We are like those little birds. Something new and exciting is calling to us, especially for those of us who have put off our dreams and passions to "be an adult," and follow all the rules. Now the scent of spring is in the air and we feel that pull, that intoxicating aroma of newness and possibility. We want to dive off that branch before we've learned how to flutter our wings. All it takes is one unfortunate plunge and we're left saying to ourselves, "see, they were right. It was silly to think I could do this at my age." Nonsense! First you learn to hover. Then you fly a few steps. Then you fly to the end of the branch, then to the next branch, then to the next tree. Before you can sing, "Rockin' Robin" you are in the air, and isn't the view well worth the wait?

These can be the most exciting, the most rewarding years of our lives. We are old enough to know better, and young enough to try. So unpack those Florida suitcases and pull out your wings. It's time for flight practice! And so it is.