Story: Details, Details

October 9, 2022

2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c
Luke 17:11-19

The three ‘amakihi chicks had emerged from their eggs over the course of a day, and they promptly set out to do what newly hatched chicks do: they grew. Mother and father brought them food and cleaned the nest and did the things that ‘amakihi parents do. After a couple of weeks, they set out to teach them to fly.

This turned out to be complicated.

The three stepped up out of the nest along a branch and took their positions, ready to fly. “Get your wings ready!” called mother, and that’s where the instruction began. Two of the chicks extended their wings, but the third on the branch just looked confused. “How do I get my wings ready?” he asked.

Mother and father both extended their wings and spread the feathers along them. The first two chicks had been pretty close, though not perfect. The third one hadn’t apparently been paying attention to seeing his parents fly. It took a while, but he got those wings out and open and spread.

“Now open up your tail feathers,” said father. This time was the turn of the second chick to look confused. “Tail feathers?” she asked, as her two brothers both their tails into the shape of a fan. Father and mother demonstrated, and finally her tail took the proper shape.

Everybody managed to get the next section of the flight lesson, hopping up and down and doing some gentle wing flaps. All three managed to get in more and more wings beats before settling back down onto the branch again.

“Very good,” said mother. “The last thing to remember as we take your first flight to that branch over there” (she pointed with her beak) “is to lift up your feet and tuck them up to your belly.”

Now it was the first chick on the branch to look confused. “Shouldn’t I leave them down to grab the branch?” he said.

“No,” said father. “Your balance will be off if you do that.”

“No,” said mother. “You’ll reach out with your feet when you’re approaching the branch.”

That last chick looked uncertain and confused, and sure enough, when he and his brother and his sister took off, his legs weren’t properly tucked up. They flew fairly straight to the branch their mother had showed them, but he veered wildly up and down and from side to side before seizing that branch a good distance from his brother and sister. All of them were panting, but he was panting the hardest.

“That’s a good start,” said mother.

“This is really complicated!” wailed the chick who hadn’t tucked his feet up. “Really complicated,” said the sister whose tail was still working at stretching out.” “There’s so many things to remember,” complained the chick who hadn’t known to stretch out his wings.

“It’s all little things,” said father, “but you’re right. There are a lot of little things.”

“Put the little things together,” said mother, “and you’ll fly with safety and delight.”

It’s the little things, and the little things put together, that make us able to do the big things, like flying, and friendship, and love.

by Eric Anderson

Watch the Recorded Story

Technical problems today have delayed the availability of the video, and unfortunately there were audio problem with the recording. You’ll notice that the volume is very low at the beginning of the story and gets much more audible about half way through, at 12:55. We regret the errors.

And, of course, the story as told is not quite the same as the story as written.

Photo of an ‘amakihi by Bettina Arrigoni – Hawaii Amakihi (male) | Palilia Discovery Trail | Mauna Kea | Big Island | HI|2017-02-09|12-21-50.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74674211.