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A storm was coming. Ellie the eaglet watched in fascination as her mother soared through the sky.
This was Mother’s favorite time. Updrafts this strong were only present right before a storm. Ellie watched as she dove down again, faster than anything Ellie had ever seen. And Mother always knew just the right moment to pull out and up, to avoid smashing on the rocks below.
Ellie was amazed by her mother’s skill and gracefulness, but scared too. She knew someday she would need to leave the safety of her own nest and find out just what it felt like to ride the currents of air.
But for now she was hungry. Very hungry. She fluffed her dark brown feathers and stretched her wings. They still didn’t look like Mother’s but she had seen others her age using them to fly. She tipped her head to the side searching for mother. There she was, soaring high above all the other eagles. Lifting her brilliant yellow beak to the sky she screeched a plea for food.
“Really El, do you gotta be so loud? At least give a girl warning.” Pansy Porcupine waddled out of her den.
The eagle nest had been there so long and had been added onto so much that it stretched almost ten feet wide and nearly twice as deep. Pansy’s family had made their burrow in the lower part of the nest. Pansy padded her way up the rocks, heaved herself over the edge, and tumbled down next to Ellie.
Sparkle Sparrow hopped her way up from her home tucked under the edge of the great nest. Her happy songs always made Ellie’s heart feel so light and cheerful.
“It is how I let mother know I am hungry. She hears me and answers my call.” Ellie searched the sky again. “But she hasn’t come today and I am starving.”
“That’s very unusual for Eleanor. She has taken very good care of you. You are the best fed eaglet I know.” Sparkle twittered and fluttered. “I hope she is okay.”
Just as she finished speaking, Eleanor swooped down with a fish. “Hello, Dear. Ready to eat?”
Ellie hopped up and down with excitement. Mother sat on a branch of a great evergreen which grew out of a ledge lower down on the outcropping. She was just in front of Ellie, yet still out of reach. The fish drooped over the branch. It was the biggest Ellie had ever seen. She bounced and flapped her way from one edge of the nest to the other. “Yes, Mother… so very hungry… please, Mother.”
Eleanor gave a tender squawk and flew away, leaving the fish hanging from the tree.
Now Ellie was frantic. Her focus was solely on the fish and she fluttered and flapped, straining. Then she was there, and the fish was so tasty. She didn’t even notice that her desperate hunger had driven her to stretch her wings just enough to soar to the tree.
Eleanor landed next to her and gazed at her lovingly as she attacked her first meal of the day. Then she reached out and nudged the fish off the limb. It hurtled through empty air toward the rocks and river below. “No!” Ellie screamed and hurtled herself off the limb.
The fish was forgotten as she plunged toward the rocks below. She tried desperately to open her wings, but a screech ripped from her as she realized that she wasn’t going to make it… she was going to be smashed on the rocks.
Then she felt it. An updraft lifted her wings just enough. She was able to open them and soar in the current. Now a shadow above her caught her attention. She looked up. Mother herself had caused the updraft. She flew above Ellie, lifting her with her own powerful wingsweeps. The swirls of air from Eleanor’s wings swept under Ellie’s and gave her the currents she needed to fly.
She and Mother soared together higher and higher. They alighted in the nest together where Sparkle and Pansy cheered and sang.
Eleanor immediately dropped back out of the nest as Ellie rested with her friends.
“I jes’ knew ya could do it, kid!”
They were still clambering and giggling about the flight when another fish fell plop… right on Pansy. They looked up as Eleanor soared up higher and higher until she couldn’t be seen.
“Storm comin’” Reckon you eagles is the only ones who enjoy the comin’ of a storm. Better go prepare, the way she is goin’, must be a doozie.” Pansy shook off the fish and wobbled out of sight.
That night the storm pounded and lightning flashed, but Ellie slept dry and peacefully under her mother’s outstretched wings.
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This was a delight to read, and the lesson really speaks to me. Too often I stay nestled away in my "comfort nest", afraid to branch out. This reminds me that God does not want us to stay stagnant in one place forever. He wants us to spread our wings and begin soaring into new territory. I'm glad you posted this for all to read. Very good story!
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