Laughing Gulls, Larus atricilla, flying above the Galveston ferry, looking for handouts from passengers.

I was very young when I first imagined I could fly

Just 4 or 5 I think, and very confused

About those grown-up boundaries dividing

Dreams and fantasy from cold reality.

By day I’d lie in grassy fields and watch a fearless

Blue Jay harass a stalking cat, then safely leap aloft

And flap his wings in disgust.

By night, I dreamed of leaping off a tall building,

Flapping my arms so fast and furious that I would

Slowly rise and fly beside a flock of honking geese

Making their way to some far away wonderland called Canada.

I loved the raucous calls of black-faced Laughing Gulls

Darting and wheeling above the Galveston ferry, intercepting

Bread crumbs in mid-air. I longed to fly with them,

And was always convinced I could have had not my mother’s voice

Held me tethered here below.

For many of my adult years, I was that grown-up voice, splashing

The cold water of reality on any dreams and fantasies that dared

To breach grown-up defenses.

But finally, in old age, I am a child again, free to dream,

Free to fly any way I can.

When I stand on a mountainside in Ecuador at 13000 feet, breathing

Cold, thin air as Sword-billed hummingbirds and Booted Racket-tails

Vibrate the mist around me —

When I tiptoe through a swamp in Florida to watch a Great Blue Heron

In breeding plumage fishing to feed his mate —

When I sit in a blind in North Carolina in November,

Chilled in the frosty 26 degree morning air, and find myself thrilled

At the antics of Eastern Bluebirds, Red-bellied Woodpeckers

And Carolina Wrens cavorting on pumpkins and competing for grub worms

Against a backdrop of yellow gold and rusty red leaves —

Then I understand that I can fly, that the birds and butterflies and landscapes

I pursue have taught me how to live my dreams, lifting my spirit higher

Than my highest flight when I was only five.

(Poem by Janice Braud)

2 comments on “WINGS

  1. Superb images with beautiful detail

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