Story: Flight School

April 23, 2023

Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Luke 24:13-35

The myna chick was in flight school.

She’d already been to flight school, but now she was in a different flight school. The first flight school was what you think it is, and her instructors were mostly her parents, with occasional helpful contributions from random mynas near the nest – because a myna has something to say about just about anything – and not-so-helpful contributions from her sisters and brother, who also had plenty to say about her first attempts at flight but they didn’t really know any more about it than she did, and sometimes less.

They were mynas, of course, so they had something to say about it whether they knew anything or not.

She had graduated flight school, however, with flying colors. By which I mean, she could fly.

And now she was in flight school. This one, however, was not about flying. It was about fleeing. The first flight school taught her how to make her way through the air. The second flight school taught her about the things to fly away from.

There were a good number of them. The problem was that she found it all very boring. The instructors would suddenly shriek, “Cat!” and all the students would fly away. Then they’d do it again. And again. It was tiring. And boring.

When everybody was wing-weary and tired, the teachers announced a short break. The students scattered to the trees to rest.

Our myna hadn’t been settled long when some other birds also perched on nearby branches of her tree. She didn’t know much about them. There was a kolea, and a couple of finches and doves, and a yellow-billed cardinal. She was really startled, though, when a very large bird with long white wings and long legs settled near the top of the tree. Nobody else seemed to move, however, so she folded the wings she’d planned to fly away with. Her flight school lessons hadn’t moved on to birds yet.

“Startled, little one?” said a voice from above and behind her.

“Yes,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve seen a bird that large before.”

“Don’t worry,” said the voice. “That’s a cattle egret. They don’t hunt mynas.”

“Are there birds that hunt mynas?” she asked.

“Certainly,” said the voice. “Not a lot, but they do enjoy a tasty bit of myna when they can get it.”

“What birds are those?” she asked, not sure she wanted to know.

“There’s the pueo,” said the voice. “They have very flat faces and big eyes, and they fly really quietly. You want to fly away from those.”

“Anything else?” asked the myna.

“Definitely,” said the voice. “Watch out for the ‘io. It’s got a sharp curved beak, large pointed talons, and big broad wings. It can spot you from high up in the sky.”

“At least it doesn’t roost in trees,” sighed the myna.

“Who says it doesn’t?” said the voice. The myna turned her head, and saw a larger bird with cream and brown feathers, bright eyes, a curved beak and sharp talons on its great feet. The finches leapt from the tree with a screech of “’Io!” followed by all the other birds – except the ‘io, who didn’t happen to be hungry.

She didn’t find flight school boring after that. She wanted to know everything about identifying the creatures around her – the ones to fly away from and the ones who wouldn’t harm her. She lived her life grateful for an ‘io who would tell her the truth.

by Eric Anderson

Watch the Recorded Story

I tell these stories during worship from my memory of the story as written (that’s the text you’ve just read). My memory is… not photographic.

I did take the photo of the ‘io at the top of the page.

3 thoughts on “Story: Flight School

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