Thursday, August 4, 2011


Lessons from Papa Shama

Several months ago, I had a Mama Shama Bird teach me the profound, courageous nature of motherhood; the resourceful tenacity of Mother Nature, and how very much I had to learn from winged, four –footed, and slithering ohana.
Not too long ago, the same Mama Shama returned, same spot, same nest reconstructed. Lo and behold she laid another four eggs; four more mouths to feed. Since these parents, made the top shelf of our shoerack their babyroom, I was privy to much of the parenting process. I even watched Papa Shama, fly to a neighboring branch, holding a flailing baby gecko by its neck to be fed to his four young ones; a reminder that even in its infancy, Nature can be cruel; life and death always exist; perhaps that gecko came back with wings.
I watched them grow, these burly birds; they were fed quite often. They were all mouth: grey, flightless, winged beings. Mouth after mouth, day after day, they grew big, football player birds. Then one day, two were gone. I knew these birds would fly sooner than the first batch: they were more vocal, demanded sustenance, determined to grow. Fed so earnestly and so ferociously, they grew and grew from grey to auburn with white speckled wings; speckles dissolving into the one trademark portal of white, encircled upon the shama. 

I busied about. Things to do. Flights to catch. Life to move on into, and I would wake and feel the anxiety of my flight. Where would I go? How would that last step look? Would I be caught? Would I have the strength to fly?
I received a timely call from a friend, intuiting the hesitancy of my movement. He coached:
It is in that moment that we move towards faith - we are born: we break out of the shell in faith.
 But, then the mind catches up, “You want me to jump from where to where?”
I trembled.
My friend, baring sustenance much akin to Papa Shama’s  gecko, said “Eat,” “Your family will care for you. And when you hit the circle of uncertainty, remember it is the family of your soul you fly to. You will be safe.”
I packed, cleared and cleaned. Seven days to go, seven days left of creation. I tumbled down the steps, past the Shama’s nest, and was scolded by Papa Shama. His cries fierce and protective: scolding and chirping, chirping and scolding.
I stopped in my tracks, and looked. The last two birds had shrunken into their own feathers, out of the nest, onto the ridge of the shelf.
Could they? Could they be getting ready for their own flight?
I looked close; they tucked their beaks. I breathed, “Good Luck,” thanked them and continued on to my business in the garden. When I returned, they were gone.
Gone. They had taken flight. My heart soared.
We wait, and we wait, and we tuck, and with the call of our creator we soar.

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