Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fables of Determination and Love

By Hannah

Moments in a day are ours to interpret. Every one of us writes his or her own story.

A baby bird fell from its nest in our backyard while my husband and children played catch. My son watched it flutter-fall to the other side of our split-rail fence. The children wanted to pick it up, put it back in the nest; my husband explained that to touch it would mean the mother likely would no longer care for it. So we watched, worried about hawks from a stand of oaks across the street. The mother bird flew to a low-hanging branch, chattering at her wayward offspring. The baby bird hopped on the lawn, then in a burst, flew a brief arc toward her; he came so close. After encouraging him for several minutes, the mama drew him toward a large bush in our neighbor’s yard under which he would be safe. We waited, but they stayed quiet.

My children walked away talking of how the baby bird would soon fly, maybe within the hour. He came so close, surely with a few more attempts, he would make it to a low branch, then a middle branch, then home. He would try again, the mother would be there, he would make it.

My husband walked away with a meaningful look at me. The baby is too young. Will the mother be able to protect it and still guard any others in her nest? A lesson in Nature, her whims, that what happens is a practical matter.

I believe in my heart the baby was close to being able to fly. I hope that with some measure of determination within himself and with encouragement, he made it back.

For my children, this was an animal fable about determination and love. For my husband, a lesson postponed in the facts of nature. My first thought was of a parenting analogy, then an analogy for anyone with a dream.

Every person sees stories in the everyday world. Most people do share stories, chatting with a friend, keeping a journal. Why do writers go a step -- hundreds of steps -- beyond? Why are we compelled to take the time and energy to distill a moment's essence and recapture it within a perfect framework? Maybe it is our attempt to look beyond what is known and safe and expected. We want to experience what comes next, to see things from a new perspective, and carry it back in such a way that others can see, too.

Maybe we, as storytellers, are more acutely aware that each of us experiences our own fables of determination and love, that the facts of nature are indeed simultaneously cruel and beautiful, that we all have to leave the nest and help others to do it, as well. Maybe we are the among the lucky ones who get to show others that you cannot really live life until you are not afraid to fly.


Larramie said...

Or -- better yet -- SOAR!

And I agree with your boys, Hannah, the baby bird turned into The Little Engine that Could.

Therese said...

Hannah, this post really has me thinking about why I write.

Interestingly, I'm not a natural story teller, not verbally; I have friends who are far better than I at regaling tales in dramatic and/or entertaining ways. Yet I do have stories to tell--stories that are much bigger, that need more room than a dinnertime vignette.

So many writers say they write because they have to. For me, the "have to" writing is what goes into my journals. I write for public consumption because I want to--because I love to craft my observations and reflections into stories.

Thanks for sparking this question!

Melissa Amateis said...

Great post, Hannah (really, do you gals every have any BAD posts? I don't think so!).

I've always been better at communicating through the written word. Put me in front of a crowd to tell a story and I'll get all tongue-twisted. I find expressing myself through words a release of sorts, and also a thrill.

kristen spina said...

I must also join the ranks of those who get tongue-tied verbally. I find when I speak, I mix metaphors, drop the ends of sentences and more often than not trip over my own words. It's kind of sad in a way, but I almost can't think unless I have a keyboard in front of me.

That said, this was a lovely post. The last two grafs had me brushing away a tear and nodding my head in agreement. Thank you, Hannah.

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