One spring, there was a mama and a daddy. As this story begins, daddy is gone about his business–just off doing what daddy hummers do.
The mama fashioned a nest out of spiders’ webs and this and thats, filaments of love; and then, she laid her two fragile eggs in the rock-a-by-baby pocket, secured to a tiny branch. The branch was strong enough for babies, but not strong enough for cats! Strong enough for wind songs, but not strong enough for rats! A safe place in the green waving shelter of the mock orange bush gone wild. Now a tree. Now a sheltering.
Mama sat and sat on her eggs and sometimes on her watching branch, anticipating the hatching days to follow.
One cracked, poking and squirming through. Another cracked, searching and shoving. And now the hungry wee ones probed the air for . . . that beak, that food . . . that mama. It was a hungry need. A constant need.
Mama scouted the area for danger, holding in her belly the precious made-for-babies nectar–remade, reformed. And down into the tummy she plunged. Ah, tastes like chicken or maybe backyard nectar! “Mama, what’s chicken?”
Swinging back and forth, they waited, and tirelessly (well, maybe a bit tired), mama flew back and forth several times a day, feeding, and pre-digesting, and plunging food into insatiable, growing wonders. Back and forth in their wispy cradle, they snugged strong against the wind, with nothing to do but grow and wait.
“More, more, more. Some morrrrreeee!”
Now busy, now resting, always aware, mama watched out for cats and rats and the funny close lady with the black clicking and beeping thing stuck in her face. She warned. She got close with her long beak and whirring wings, chirping, circling. telling–“Get back!”
“Whoah! Would you look at that, brother. We are growing feathers! At least I think that’s what they are.”
“This cuddle cradle is getting a bit tight. My wing is not fitting in here anymore. Move over, brother!”
“Think branch! Be the branch! I see that lady again.”
“Something is happening to our nest. It has shrunk overnight! Mammmaaaa!”
“Stop yelling, little ones! I heard you. Lesson #1: When you eat, you get bigger. You are eating, and the nest is not; therefore . . .” “Okay, I get it! Brother, you are eating too much!” Little one, lesson #2: Do not disrespect your baby brother!”
“Mum, ghtoej@@@fflsdlk . . . this stuffff jkgkjkejk . . . is llpopkijfd# . . .” “Lesson #3: Don’t talk with your mouth full. It’s rude and you will choke!”
“I have to say, pre-digested goo is very satisfying. Don’t you think, Slophead?” Lesson #4: Do not call your brother names. Next feeding, he goes first!”
“I’m sorry for calling you names, brother. Next time, let me eat first, and we’ll call it even.”
“Did you hear that? It’s that clicking sound again. A bird? No, it’s coming from that lady with the black thing in her face. Do you think she’s dangerous. Mama said to sit really still when she’s around.”
“You’re not being still!”
“Ah, such a beautiful soft night……………..Did you just poop in the nest!” ……………….”Well, where else do you expect me to go. I can’t fly yet!”
“We will always be together, right? I feel so close to you right now.” ………..”Do you hear Mama. I’m kind of hungry.”
“Do you see that light? Do you suppose we are out-of-body?”
“You are out-of-mind! Keep still and keep concentrating on our food delivery system.”
“Ah, here she is now! What flavor this hour, Mum? And when do we go out to get our own, Mum, Mum, Mum?” Lesson #5: Don’t ask so many questions!”
“Psst! Mama loves me best because my slop tasted like strawberry!”
“I’m bored; are you bored?”
“This wind is crazy. What are you hanging on to?” ……………”I’m hanging on to you! What are you hanging on to?” ……………..”I’m hanging on to you!!! Oh, we are in BIG trouble!”
“Mama, we were so scared! And we are so glad to see you! Oh, wait, food! Did you say food? …………Well, brother was so scared!”
“More, more, more, more, more!
“Wind, what wind? Happiness is a big mama and a full belly!”
“Did you save some for me, Mum? ……….”There’s plenty more where that came from. Every time the lady with the black face passes by the hanging thing in her backyard, it magically refills with nectar. God seems to bless us in spite of her interference.”
“I’m still hungry. I need a between snack.” “Between what?” Between the last and next!
“This is the life, brother! A full belly and a soft bed.” “Move over!” “Good night, brother. See you in the morning.”
The chill of the almost-morning seemed tighter on the one remaining wonder. With the pangs of hunger calling and newfound wings giving strength and lift rather than just cumbersome decoration, brother had left safety in search of breakfast.
“Brother. Brother, where . . .”
“But he said he would never leave–that we would always be close!” “Did he really say that or is that just what you wanted?”
“Lesson number . . . is this 6 or 7? Oh, well. The biggest lesson, Love, is that you were born to be free. Your brother is still close by, but he is flying! He’s eating and soaring and having a wonderful time. That’s what wings are for.”
“But I don’t want to fly . . . really. I want to stay here with you where there are no cats and rats.”
“Safe where there are no cats or rats, there is no joy and purpose. You must share a little risk to do what you were made for. There are dangers, and you must be wise, but you are never alone.”
“I think I am having a bit of an epiphany here! ………….Mama, what’s an epiphany?” Here, son, have some more slop. It will make you strong.”
The next day dawned like all the others that had gone before, but the little wonder felt a strange stirring, a stirring in his tummy, his heart, and his wing. Carefully, he released his grip on the soft cradle; slowly he stretched one wing then the other and felt the cool breeze of morning in the lift.
In the shelter of the mock orange, the nest rests empty, slightly squished, slightly soiled, but our story ends happily forever after because it ends in freedom.
The end–sort of.