Winged Creatures

I have been thinking about wings this week.

First, it was the young woman in line in front of me at Walmart sporting a pair. Well, actually it was a tattoo. Of angel wings. Between her shoulder blades.  I was mesmerized.

I stood there in line considering the possibilities for why she’d chosen wings.   I’m almost 100 percent certain that actual angels don’t run around in tube tops,  but I liked the fact that of all the awful designs she could have picked, that she’d chosen one that symbolized flight and freedom and effortless movement of spiritual beings.   I wondered if those inked wings made her feel lighter, more free.

And then, last evening there was the baby Chickadee.

I’m not sure how this tiny soul ended up in the middle of the gravel road that runs in front of our house.  Perhaps she’d been practicing in the woods and got a little too enthusiastic?  When we found her, she was a little dusty, but unhurt.   Worried that a car would squish her,  I found a long stick and held it in front of her, hoping she’d take the hint.   She did, and what’s more, she rode the stick all the way to the backyard with me at the other end.  Several times during the trip,  she did a full gymnast’s loop around her end of the stick and when she came to the top again, she’d look at me as if to say, ” Wow. That was freakin’ AWESOME!!!!!”  She looked triumphant in a birdie sort of way.

I was about to set her on the grass when suddenly, she took flight.  However, instead of taking off, she chose to perch on my shoulder.  True story.  We have pictures to prove it.  And for the next half hour, the kids and I enjoyed her company as she chose each of us as her own personal runway.  We learned that she preferred ants over worms,  and that she really liked climbing up my son’s back all the way to his neck.  The three of us sat on the sidewalk and watched her hop, hop, hop and then stop to pluck up ants so small that we could barely see them.    We cheered each time our small winged visitor tried to fly. And for the first time in a  too-short, too-busy, summer of jobs and friends and a million human distractions, we were together in a gentle and wondrous way.

It is nearly August. Soon, my babies will be packing to go back to their respective college campuses for another year of learning.   I will watch from my nest as they do what young birds and young humans do when they are wise, and healthy, and strong.   Fly away.

It’s okay, though.  Their pinfeathers were replaced a while ago.

And besides, they know where I’ll be whenever they need a safe place to land.

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