A leaf hangs on a tree,
swaying back and forth. She wonders to herself,
“Why is she stuck here?” “Why can’t she be free like the birds?”
“The only thing I have to look forward to is dying and falling to the ground to die.”
“Is there nothing more to my life than this?” As if to answer her, a strong gust of wind blows her off the tree.
It sweeps her high into the sky. It blows her through the forest. It carries her pass the lake.
And just when she thought it would never end. The wind dies out.
She slowly drifts to the soft ground, her final resting place.
She rots away with all the other leaves.
A big smile on her face.
A dove flies by. He sees a leaf. He scoops
it up. He heads back home. Where his friends wait.
The dove spots his friends, the jay and the wren.
Jay takes the leaf, wren welcomes the dove home.
Jay rushes to their nest, patching it up.
With the new leaf, their home is warm. Their nest
is done. They sing, they cheer, they dance, they laugh.
Jay wishes she could fly too. If she could
She would help dove do some of the hard work.
Dove said that all jays have trouble flying.
Jay would be putting her life in danger.
Wren says it’s best to stay here safe and sound.
Jay nods her head. All is perfect. Why mess
it up? What is there to gain by flying?
All the birds go to sleep. Dove and wren wake
up in the middle of the night. They go
outside to admire the sky full of stars.
Wren says if I could fly, I would touch all
the stars. Dove laughs. Wren asks what’s so funny?
You can fly, so can jay. All birds can fly.
Wren says why did you tell us we could not?
Dove explains, with you it’s simple. I know
how much you enjoy staying home. With Jay,
it’s something else. She has a bad sense of
direction. She would get lost. Clumsiness
is also an issue. Wren says jay can
be very clumsy, she tripped over her
own legs yesterday. They both laugh out loud.
A small creak made both of them turn around.
Wren asks, did you hear that sound? Yeah I did.
Maybe it was just the cold wind blowing.
Wren says, yeah that’s probably it. They turn
around and continue talking again.
Back in the home, jay quietly goes back
to sleep. Tears are dripping from her own face.
The next day, with dove already gone and
wren in the house, jay is prepared to fly.
This will be her first flight. She is shaking
with fear. Memories of last night pop up
in her mind. Her fear quickly turns into
anger. She runs head on, flapping her wings.
The edge is near, she takes a leap of faith.
Her eyes are closed. Her wings are flapping hard.
For a split second, it feels like she is
flying. She is not flying. She is just
falling. And there is nothing she can do
about it. Perhaps her friends were right all
along. As she hit the ground something snapped
inside of her. Cold and darkness followed.
A little boy runs across the fields on a sunny day.
He hears a distinct sound in the distant pasture.
He spots a jay, it’s wings flapping in an awkward way.
Picking up the jay, he brings it home to nurture.
His dad creates a splint to help the bird’s wing heal.
Together they build a birdhouse for the jay to recuperate.
The jay grows fond of the boy and way he makes it feel.
Together they build a new bond, together they celebrate.
After the jay has healed, the jay flaps it’s wings incessantly.
The boy assumes the bird just wants to play around.
So he runs around the jay flapping his arms constantly.
The bird flaps, gains some height, then hits the ground.
It happens over and over again. To the boy it looks dire.
The boy gets his dad, asks “what’s wrong with this bird?”
“His wings have healed. He wants to fly. He’s on fire.”
“We should let him play outside, in here he looks undeterred.”
The scared boy asks, “what if he flies off and never returns?”
“Well you did rescue it. He belongs to you. You decide.”
The boy decides to keep the bird inside. Dad is concerned.
But he doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t want to pick sides.
A week has gone, the boy finds the bird plucking its wings.
The sight is appalling. Again the boy runs to his dad for help.
The dad repeats his advice. The advice leaves a sting.
The boy see’s the plucked feathers, he hears the jay’s yelp.
The boy caves in. His dad and he setups an open space
in the backyard for the bird to practice flying. At first, the jay
keeps on hitting the ground. Looking at the jay’s face,
you could tell that he was on a mission. His feathers in a fray.
One afternoon, the boy comes home to find the bird gone.
He didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to him.
It started with jay yearning to fly outside in the lawn.
It ended with him yearning for jay to come back in a whim.
Do all the things you hold dear to your heart, always leave you?
Or is it because you hold them too tight, that they inevitably leave you?
The passing of many decades has turned the boy into a man.
The man has a boy of his own and they are both in the backyard.
The man is on his knees adding fertilizer to all the trees.
His son inquires, “Last time grandpa was here, he told me a lot about you.”
“Oh really? What did he tell you?” The son replied, “About your childhood.
He said how much you loved birds. How come you don’t have any birds?”
The man felt his chest tighten, his breathing restricted, and his body tense.
The man replied, “I enjoy spending my free time with plants and trees.”
His son asked, “Is it because one of your favorite birds flew away?”
The man stares into distance, “Birds are meant to be free. Born to fly.
Trees are different. Wherever you plant one, they stay there forever.
You can pour all your energy, love, and hard work into a tree
And it’ll still be there tomorrow when you get home from school.
A bird not so much.” The boy asks, “Can I get a bird? I want a pet.”
The man answers, “Sure, but it will be your bird. You must take care of it.”
The son promises wholeheartedly that he will. The man walks his son inside.
It’s getting breezy outside and the father doesn’t want his son to get cold.
As they leave, a strong gust of wind blows a leaf off the tree into the horizon.