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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Expand (07/18/13)

TITLE: Recalculating!
By Carolyn Ancell
07/20/13


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I just saw a bird fly backwards. Really. It flew right by me. Top speed. So close I could have touched it. I am standing on a dark, wild beach on the Homer Spit in southeastern Alaska. My husband's halibut charter has just been cancelled due to this morning's high seas and gale force winds. A few brave gulls struggle forward against the wind, hoping for a chance at breakfast. My gull lacks the physical stamina or coordination of the others, and is carried backwards. It will need to recalculate. Or maybe the very act of flying backwards IS recalculating. Maybe its flying backwards is opening for my gull new possibilities, new angles, new opportunities. Maybe it will lead it to its experimenting with flying sideways, upside down, or feet first.

I used to think like this all the time. When I was younger. I miss that brain. I find that, as I approach 70, instead of allowing the perimeter of my imagination to expand, to embrace possibilities and the unknown, I tend to carefully draw it in around myself like a safety net. I wonder if in my decreasing ability to physically force myself forward against the winds of time, fearing to delight in flying backwards supported and transported by the wind because I've never done it before, I grow merely in caution, and despair of any more flight at all. I need to recalculate.

I wonder. Why did my backwards-flying gull startle me, but at the same time cause feelings of joy, excitement and hope to suddenly appear after such a long absence? Why do I without hesitation call it " my" gull? I do believe that everything happens for a reason even when I do not fathom that reason, and I believe God does move in mysterious ways. So I will acknowledge and ponder the gift of this moment, embrace it, and allow it to expand outward from within.

Standing here on this wild dark beach, I open to the possibility that I will fly again. It won't be the flight of my youth. Perhaps it will not be strong or swift. It will be different. Others may shake their heads and murmur, "That poor gull-girl. She is flying backwards." But I will be airborne once more, trusting the wind to support me, to take me not where I will, but where it wills. Keep an eye on the sky. You may see me. Free again, exploring this ever-expanding universe of beauty, wisdom, surprise and grace. Backwards, sidewards, upside down, or feet first!


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Sara Harricharan 07/25/13
I like your title. There's so much to think about when you "recalculate" isn't there? Nice short piece on introspection. I could relate to it. Thanks for sharing!
Linda Goergen07/27/13
Absolutely wonderful, the imagery so vivid I felt I was standing there with you! Getting on up there in age myself, I could completely relate to the contemplation and self-observation the backward flying gull evoked within you! In your last paragraph I saw a message that could both apply to this world and the next. Just masterfully done! Loved it!