Spreading their wings
By CHRISTINE TAILER
Greg stood on the front porch, a dog on either side, as my tires crunched across the gravel and I headed down the road to leave the creek. I drove east through the mountains, past farms and fields, to the city.
I was on my way to meet our new granddaughter for the first time, and as I drove I thought of our seven, ever so different, and ever so loved children. The single mother of a 3-year-old, the mother of two, fast-growing, soon-to-be teenagers, the mothers of newborns, the fathers of toddlers, the students of higher education, all working hard, and all following their dreams, some near, and others far far away.
I have often wondered, as our children have grown, what has lead each of them on their ever so different ways. One child once told me that we had given them the wings to fly, and so they have flown, and made us so very proud.
And yes, I do dream of the day that I can gather them all up and hold them all in my arms, all at the same time, but I also know, without a doubt, that my heart is big enough to hold them all wherever they may go, because I love them so.
As I neared the end of the creek road, I slowed the car. Easily, 20 or more turkeys were walking on their long turkey legs just ahead of me. Usually, they quickly dart off into the brush, but not this day. A steep bank rose to the left, and a sharp drop-off lay just to the right, so the birds had no choice but to bobble along as fast as they could, just ahead of my car.
I saw one or two stretch their wings as though they thought of flying away, but it is no easy task for a turkey to become airborne. I drove slowly, their heavy bodies keeping their high stepping feet firmly rooted to the road ahead. Finally, the hill to the left leveled off, and the big birds darted off, one by one, into the woods.
Hours later, dinner done, I sat in a city living room. We all piled onto the living room couch, three granddaughters, their nana, and their mother and father. We leaned back into the pillows to look up through the large skylight, just overhead. We watched as birds flew, from left to right, just behind the window glass.
First one, then three, then several more. They seemed to be chasing after the grey clouds that rushed past higher in the sky. As we all settled in, I realized that there was no need for television in this city house.
The toddler clapped her hands in delight as lightning flashed and the thunder boomed. The baby snuggled into her mother’s arms, as the nine year old smiled at the first pelting raindrops. We sat, comfortably crammed, heads tilted back, enjoying the show over our heads.
The weekend over, I hugged our ever so precious progeny, said goodbye, and drove back over the mountains to the creek. The tires again crunched across the gravel as I pulled up the hill to the cabin. It was my turn to smile when I saw that Greg had done the laundry and hung it out on the line to dry.
I opened the car door and stood up, stretching as I took in the creek valley sounds and smells. The pigeons cooed in their coop. I heard a woodpecker high up the hill behind the cabin. Turkey vultures circled in the evening sky, high overhead, and the air, though still warm, had a crisp edge to it.
Greg stepped out onto the porch as the dogs bounded past him to greet me. I was home. Later, as I took in the laundry and folded a shirt, I found a large cicada, clinging to the collar. I gave it a good flick and it skittered away, but before I did, I paused to marvel at its gem-like eyes and filigree wings. So many different kinds of wings. So many different ways to fly.