Friday, May 6, 2011

Fear of Flying

I've been seeing a lot of great herons lately. You can't miss them. They're so huge, so long against the backdrop of the sky. They're not slow, though you would think they would be for their size. They're very fluid, even graceful in flight. I usually see them on the banks of the river or hanging out in a wetland, but I haven't often seen them in the air. They strike me more as grandfatherly guardians of the waterways... kind of majestic, kind of brooding. In flight, they actually seem out of place. I wondered what it was about their presence in the sky that made me feel this way.

I think it has something to do with my expectations: I expect to see herons near the water, not above it. I don't expect to see them flying over buildings & freeways. I expect the heron to remain stationary, in it's own territory. I expect the heron to remain close to the earth because it's so large. But even he has wings to fly & is able to use them well. Weight & territory are no issue. He is just as graceful as any other bird in the sky.

I think what makes me uncomfortable about their presence in the sky is that I see myself in the heron... To see one flying sets my heart on edge... sends hope soaring within me. I don't have to be 'stuck". I don't have to be the guardian of the same old territory all my life. I am not too big or awkward to fly. In fact, if I took to the air, I might find I'm quite fluid, graceful. Perhaps my presence in the sky will catch another's eye, causing them to question their own expectations of others, of themselves...

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