Isn’t It Enough to Fly?

nene-201611There is a sad shortage of kites in this story. I’m afraid that the ‘apapane fails to make an appearance. There isn’t even a mongoose.

You were hoping for a mongoose? I’m sorry. There will be other stories with a mongoose, I’m pretty sure.

A baby? Well, sort of. It had been a baby, just not a baby human being. Actually it had been a chick, and now it was a gosling. A young nene.

And this nene: Oh, how he yearned to fly. He wanted to soar above the trees, and learn all the secrets he was sure lingered in the clouds, and to see the whole world changed when he took to the skies. He was sure that flying would make the sun shine more brightly, and the rain fall more sweetly, and make food taste richer and even make his dreams deeper.

But he had to wait. When he was born, well, actually, he wasn’t born. He was hatched, from an egg, exactly like all of you weren’t.

He was hatched with feathers that are completely unsuitable for flying. They were soft and fuzzy and very well suited for keeping him warm at night, but they wouldn’t move air when he moved his wings up and down. So he had to wait to grow the new feathers.

He also had to wait for his wings to grow. There’s a limited amount of space in an egg, so his wings were very small things at hatching. But as he got bigger, so did they, and took on the shapes of flight.

He also had to wait for his muscles to strengthen. Flying takes a good amount of strength, and his newly hatched muscles hadn’t had any exercise at all.

So he waited while feather grew and wings took shape and muscles hardened, and then came the day to fly.

What can I say? He flew round and about just like this (only not like this because my feet are touching the ground and his definitely weren’t), and looked down on the trees and creatures and the other birds and It. Was. Amazing.

But he found that the world really didn’t change. The sun didn’t shine any brighter, and the rain didn’t fall any more sweetly, than it ever had. His dreams were about the same, and as for food, it tasted just like he remembered. In fact, he found himself more hungry more often, because flying is hard work.

So he went to see his grandmother to ask why the world hadn’t changed when he became able to fly.

“Ah,” she said. “Learning to fly doesn’t change the world. It changes you.”

It changes you.

Plenty of moments will come in your life that are times when you’ll fly in new ways: when you graduate from one school and go to another; when you make a new friend; when you graduate from school and go to work.

In each of these times, though, the world will go on much as it has. It’s you that will change.

Mind you, each of your changes will change the world, just a little bit. But each of the times of flying: they make you into you.


Nene in flight over Halema’uma’u

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