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788. Becoming a Bird

Shore Bird in Flight

“Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?”  Matthew 6:26

The rock outcropping began to warm in the pre-dawn glow as the horizon took on a golden orange hue.  The undersides of marshmallow clouds shared the warming embrace, kissed by the still-hidden sun.

The cliff was  already active with calls and chatter.  I’ve never been a morning person, but this, my first daybreak with wings, was something I wouldn’t miss.  Some were waddling on the beach, while others were already taking advantage of warming air columns, soaring high above the open expanse of ocean.

I was a little nervous, having never relied on my forelimbs to gain altitude, and it must have shown as I slowly lumbered across the rock.  The moment I found the cliff’s edge, my heart leapt as I began to plummet, but as I spread my wings I caught the draft, converting my awkward vertical drop to a graceful horizontal glide.  Quickly my muscle instincts took over.  Catching a stronger updraft, I lifted high above the surf and, with little effort save the occasional wingtip flicker, coasted on the outskirts of the invisible air column.  The golden orb on the horizon lifted, too, slowly breaking the bond of gravity and splashing a fiery blush on the jade surface.

Gull in California

Morning recess began as a pod of dolphins broke the water’s tension, taking turns with leaps and dives. I could see the multitude of silver darts below the surface in a school of sardines.  For some reason, this sight set my stomach rumbling, but I was too busy enjoying the scenery to slow down for breakfast.

A ruckus caught my attention and I noticed a number of other birds fighting over a crab.  I finally joined in the fun, grabbing a claw in my beak and tossing the creature into the air.  But the fight got a little vicious, and being the loner, I grabbed some air and lifted back into the sky, gliding out toward a small desert rock barely poking above the surf.  Alighting on the solid surface, I spied a sardine caught in an eddy puddle left by a rogue wave.  Breakfast!

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