Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Fledgling

Photo via Teddy Llovet's Flickr.

A falcon is fledgling on the edge of a dizzying precipice, clumsily flapping its wings. Winds blow hard on the mountaintops, dropping and swirling through the valley below.

As my talons grip the nest, all I see is the infinite sky.

 I'm afraid. Mom’s shrill call echoes in the distance.

And then I woke up.

This morning’s sunrise greeted me with the thought that in two weeks I would celebrate my first birthday without my mother’s living presence on this earth. And although I’ll be 47 years young, it’s perhaps fitting to call it a first birthday.

Every year, she would tell me the story of how I was born. Never why. Just how.

The mundane details: how she packed her hospital bag early to avoid traffic in San Juan; how labor was not as painful as her first three births; how I peed on my brother the first time he held me in his arms; how my ears were pierced; how the delivery doctor told my dad "it's a boy" as a prank.

On the brink of 47, I think I know the “why” now. It’s a why that doesn’t need the clutter of words. It’s a why of soaring through vast open spaces, of being unafraid, of not staying stuck, of peace in the midst of chaos. A why of infinity.

A why of raptor birds perched on cliffs.

“I’m a fledgling too, Maria. I also took a leap into the unknown. Don’t be afraid of living. Don’t be afraid of dying.”

And with those words, my talons let go.

Happy first birthday, mom. It's yours just as much as mine.

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