Saturday, September 24, 2005

Judi's Artsy Essay

Before I get into the subject of tonight's post, let me just say that the recent natural events that have devastated such huge portions of The Gulf Coast  looms large in my mind.  I send my prayers to each and everyone affected by these storms and the horrible aftermath.

I was tempted not to post at all this week, but I will because tonight is the deadline to enter Judith Heartsong's Artsy Essay contest and I have entered every other month since I started this journal.  What propels me to enter each time is not the hope and chance to win a prize, even though it would be nice to do so, but the challenge Judi offers us to hone our writing skills and to learn more about our fellow journalists here in J-Land through the links to all the essays.  Though this contest I have been introduced to many journals I may not have discovered though any other avenue.

Judith Heartsong, Thank you for all the work you put into this contest every month and happy anniversary!  This community is truly a better place because of your presence, encouragement, and efforts.

I have copied and will paste the challenge for this month taken from Judi's own keyboard and then follow it with my entry.

If I could be any animal on Earth......

 

Tell us which animal you would choose to be and why. Use your imagination, your sense of humor, or keep it drop dead serious. Weave your essay into a tale, write it into a poem, illustrate it with photos if you choose.

Descriptive language and engaging writing is a must, and will earn you points. This writing exercise is about self-expression and communicating your thoughts and ideas in the way that you choose.

 

And remember as always: Descriptive,Descriptive,Descriptive:):):)

 

As dawn broke over the eastern horizon, I peeked out from my lofty perch. This was the day I was to learn to fly and I could hardly contain my excitement.

My mother had been nudging me for days now trying to get me to take that final leap, that total commitment, which would result in either the most exhilarating moment of my life or the stark terror of eminent death.

My feathers were fully developed and had taken on the coloration of my ancestors. Brown and white I was, with talons that grew sharper and stronger by the day. I was still a fledgling, however, and my muscles were mostly untested. They felt strong and yet I still resisted that leap of faith. It would be the ultimate test that would take me pell-mell right to the edge of adulthood.

All that was running through my mind was the child-like verse my mother had taught me.

Do or die,

Fall or fly,

It’s your plight

To take to sky.

Soar and dive,

Climb and hover,

Learn this skill

From your mother.

Keen of eye,

And strong of wing,

Surely you can

Learn this thing.

My mother had repeated this to me so often that it overpowered my thoughts and lived permanently etched in my mind. I knew the only way I could displace this ever-present inner chant would be to do the deed itself. Yes, today I would fly, or die trying. Which would it be?

As I peel through the years and look back on that fateful day, that same feeling of tense excitement grips me and I can recall the events.

The day dawned bright and clear. The sky was azure blue as though a shimmering pool of water had become airborne and filled the sky. Little fluffs of white on the horizon hinted at clouds too distant to be of any influence on the day’s happenings.

Hunger had started to rear it’s head and I knew my mom would be back soon with this morning’s offerings. I hoped it would be a fish, my personal favorite. Since I had gotten larger mom would bring me a fish to tear into all by myself.

I could feel the warmth of the sun coursing through my feathers. I began preening myself as I waited for the morning meal. Looking up I saw my mother carrying a fish, as I had imagined she would, while closing the distance between us. She flew over a flat outcropping of rock and did something that startled me. She dropped the fish. Landing next to me on my perch mom was now empty-handed.

I let out a cry of both surprise and dismay as my morning meal lay flapping and dying on the flat outcropping of rock far below. I became agitated and started to run back and forth screeching in mom’s direction. That’s when my mom did something that got my full attention. As I passed close by, screeching my fool head off, my mom nudged me and I began to fall.

In a panic, I reacted out of instinct and with the little training my mom had tried to impart to me. I spread my wings and flapped and I could feel the resistance with each wing beat through the air as if I was trying to grab at a non-existent tree branch that would stop my fall. I gained speed in my free fall and I beat my wings faster, and then, as if by some form of magic, I was flying. I could barely contain my excitement and I started gaining altitude instead of losing it.

I saw a chance to land on an outstretched tree limb and I took it, stumbling clumsily as I grabbed for purchase with my untried talons. Bark stripped off when I applied too much pressure to stop my forward motion. I could smell the sweet, sticky smell of resin exposed under the surface of the tree limb where my claws had dug too deep, but I had landed. I was alive!

Oh, boy, was I alive. I looked down at the fish still flapping on the rocks below and I jumped with purpose this time and cleared the tiny limbs that shot off and out from the large branch I had just occupied. I grabbed at the air and found the right speed to flap that would keep my altitude. I circled and tried to glide in order to lose altitude slowly and it worked. Down and down I spiraled keeping the morning meal in the crosshairs of my telescopic sight.

I landed next to the fish almost as clumsily as I had just landed in the tree above, but that mattered not, as I triumphantly tore into the flesh and dined on my breakfast. With each mouth full I reveled in the fact that I had taken the plunge and survived. I had passed this test that was a right of passage to every one of my predecessors and I survived! I was, indeed, an American Bald Eagle!

 

38 comments:

mosie1944 said...

In my opinion, yours was the best the last time, and it's the best this time.  So although it doesn't count, you have my vote.

scotthlori said...

This is amazing!  Well done!!!!  <clapping>

Lori
http://journals.aol.com/scotthlori/DiscoveringMe
http://journals.aol.com/scotthlori/PreciousMetal
http://journals.aol.com/scotthlori/TheYaddaYaddaBookClub

jevanslink said...

Lovely.  The Boatman is a poet at heart. Mrs. L

sierrajazz said...

Most excellent Sam.... very descriptive with lots of emotion.. I also like how you wrote if from the Baby Eagles point of view!!

I thought and thought and couldn't get going on this essay. Nothing would come out of my mind on this subject... and I LOVE animals.  Hmm I will just wait for next months essay and maybe have more luck.

nightmaremom said...

OMG!  Sam that was absolutely beautiful!  You had me so entranced with your words, I knew what you were but had to continue....... so descriptive, yet to the point and not going on and on.  Excellent!  I think we have a winner :)

pixiedustnme said...

Outstanding!  Sam, you always seem to weave just the right words together.

globetrotter2u said...

Sam,
Although I had hoped that I would win, I now hope that you will win.
I have thought time and time enough about how lovely it would be to ...FLY!!!
I never felt strong enough on my writing to try to capture the magical mystery of that moment.
I believe that you have done that.
Damned. I wanted to win. I hope that you win.
Maryanne

robinngabster said...

Wonderful!!!!!   I believe you ARE an American Bald Eagle!  Robin

ryanagi said...

Nice job!

rollinghillsides said...

i really enjoyed your story!  i'd like to soar like an eagle some day!  

sieblonde said...

Very nice Sam.  A wonderfully written story.  Very well done!  ~Sie  

jmorancoyle said...

    Bravo!
Jude
http://journals.aol.com/JMoranCoyle/MyWay

bvaneps834 said...

Great story, Sam!!! By the way, I must have missed it--but how did your relative in LA make out with Katrina?? Barb

madcobug said...

That was a great story Sam. I loved the poem also. Hope you win. You should be an author of books. Helen

jeadie05 said...

And arent you Magnificent.   Jan xx

indigosunmoon said...

Sam,
Your essay is awesome!!!
I loved it!
Connie

rocketman685434 said...

Great Essay Mate.Good Luck in Judith's contest.

judithheartsong said...

oh, very well done and I am so glad you made it! judi

ally123130585918 said...

American Bald Eagles are such magnificent creatures - And your essay was awesome - I was going to be a fish - but after reading that I have changed my mind....I do so hope you get an award for this....Ally

astaryth said...

Oh, excellent entry!!! I loved this.
http://journals.aol.com/astaryth/AdventuresofanEclecticMind

justaname4me2 said...

This is gorgeous, beautiful, and I must thank you for writing it. I enjoyed every word, and the experience of reading it. Well done, well done...........
Rebecca

slbourgoyne said...

Lovely Sam.  I should have known that is what you'd be.

Lynn

mechants said...

In between Rock Island and Davenport, there is this island. It's called Eagle Island, because the entire thing is just one big nesting spot for bald eagles. They're quite lovely. Awesome choice.

Ari

childebrand1968 said...

Wow, Sam!

Outstanding :)

I do believe you must have been a magnificent bird in a former life....  It was so realistic!

Perfect for Judi's contest ;)

Cat

ccancu said...

Your wonderful entry truly honors this magnificent bird.  Congrats!
                                                                                         Cyndy
http://journals.aol.com/ccancu/CEEGEEATLARGE

piperacharmed1 said...

great entry...I never do well on these type of questions...you did very well!

Tracie

onemoretina said...

I loved this, Sam, and guess what ?  I wrote an entry ( although I didn't end up submitting it ) about being the SAME animal !  So ... I guess we really are kindred spirits.  Who knows,... maybe we will soar over the Grand Canyon together some day, if we find ourselves reincarnated !   Tina

lurkynat said...

Dear Sam,
What abeautiful story!Good use of descriptive language adn very expressive!
Thank you so much I loved it! hugs, natalie

tillysweetchops said...

Magnificient - both the bird and your writing skills - which I have to say read effortlessly as opposed to your Bald Eagle's maiden flight!
Tilly x
http://journals.aol.co.uk/tillysweetchops/Adventuresofadesperatelyfathouse/

belfastcowboy75 said...

Some people and birds will do anything for a fish dinner. A noble account of a rite of passage.

memes121 said...

Whoa. Sam. That was...I was on the edge of my seat. I was actually in tears with happiness when he did it. And that was not just PMS! You are...a writer!

mutualaide said...

Sam, I just love this entry.  Well done, sir!

astralasterisk said...

Sam I felt the current beneath his wing...excelant description and a great read...Courtenay

madmanadhd said...

From sitting in the nest repeating the child-like verse, great touch, to taking that first plunge I joined the fledgeling in eager anticipation of flight. May you soar on eagles wings where-ever life's currents carry you.
Michael

vagabondevermore said...

This is really awesome.  And what a magnificent creature you chose.  Good luck!

-jan

viviansullinwank said...

Hello Sam. I enjoyed your entry very much. I'm so grateful to JudithHeartsong for her contest. She is a tremendous presence in our community. I'm glad that through her you and I have been able to visit each other. I can't tell you how excited I got when I read your about me section!  What an awesome life you have led and are still enjoying! Your journal is wonderful and I see you have quite a following in the five months since you created it.

Isn't J-Land a fantastic community?!

Vivian

bedazzzled1 said...

Magical. That is the word that keeps springing to mind when I try to sum up what you wrote. I think, for me, it best describes it. Yes, magical. :)

sunnyside46 said...

oh, I think you crawled inside that bird. Are there feathers on your keyboard?
Awesome!
Marti