Her First Flight


She watched as the wind rustled through the leaves in the tree. That one dry leaf shook with the impact, wanting to go where the wind went. The stem of the dry leaf broke with a silent snap and it flew..flew with the wind, as if it had wings. She watched, fascinated, as the leaf twirled and twisted gracefully in the air until the wind took it out of her sight. She wanted to follow it, weave through the air just as gracefully. She sighed, wishing she could fly.

Not yet, her mother told her. Your body is not ready for the strain of flying. So she waited, watching every morning as her family took off in a flurry of chirps, painting the sky with their colourful feathers. She waited for the day when she would fly among with them, fly, as she was truly born to do.

It was a crisp autumn morning, a slightly chilly breeze in the air that sharpened her senses. It was her day to fly. She spread out her wings and nervously let go off  the branch, for all her anticipation, she was still afraid. But soon she learned that there was nothing to be afraid of, she was born to do this. She rose to the air like the magnificent bird that she was. The wind ruffled her feathers, it caressed her face, it stung her eyes as she felt amazingly alive for the first time in the entirety of her life. It was like a dream come true, it was magic. Higher and higher she climbed, as if she would conquer heavens this very day.

They had been waiting for hours, lying still on the forest floor, hidden in the tall grass. The unsatisfied pangs of hunger kept them tethered to the spot. They could not return empty handed to the cottage today. They needed the game, for food was scarce when living in the middle of the forest.

She inhaled the air as if it was an elixir, breathing in as her wings flapped in a melodious rhythm.She looked at the world from above, looking at the treetops, the gnarled branches, the green leaves, and she felt invincible. A sudden sharp pain in her breast knocked out the wind out of her. Before she even knew what was happening she was hurtling through the treetops, the gnarled branches and the green leaves. She plummeted to the forest floor before she could even flap her wings once and lay on the sodden earth, her white feathers coloured red with death.

It was the first time a young one had shot game. He was very proud of himself. They would have a feast today, for apart from the big fat hare that his father had shot he had shot the bird that was passing right above their heads. For a few days they wouldn’t know hunger. He ran home exhilarated with his first hunt – the conqueror of new skies strung over his shoulder, defeated by life.