Writing teacher Terra Pressler used to assign the task of finding visual miracles. The idea being that stuff is happening all around, if only we'd pay attention.
This one was perched in the tree above the house the other afternoon, hoo-hoo-hooing until the sun set.
Story 1: Low Owl
How? How? How had he managed to be shunned by every member of that most reclusive and singular of all the avian clans who fly by night?
Oh, he'd tried to fit in, he'd tried the best he knew how, but to no avail. He shook his head in dismay and preened his feathers. How hard he had tried.
And in a nutshell, there it was: the heartbreak of dyslexia.
Story 2: Learning to Fly
Kurt Vonnegut: "We have to be continually jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down."
Humans always had to be doing that, she thought. Always laying claim to stuff they weren't able to handle. Witness land ownership. Witness the use of pesticides and artificial sweeteners which seeped into the water and flavored plants and insects. She'd taken a juicy rodent just the other evening and detected the flat metallic ping of fluoxetine even in its innocent duadenum.
It was depressing, frankly.
Sure, they traveled through the air, noisily as only humans could make a process. But growing their own wings? As if.
Like any bird, she'd thought about what it would be to trade alulars and primaries for additional phalanges –– with one in opposition. She'd be able to thread an needle or practice calligraphy, but feathers? Feathers win hands down.
Ask Icarus which he'd choose –– the paternal hands that wrought the wings or the fierce effortful moments near the Aegean sun before the pinions melted and fluttered into the sea.
Story 3: Exodus 33:20
Marquis was more of a doer, really, than a thinker. Even in a family that twitched and hustled from dawn to dusk, he was the kind of youngster who tended to nap through sermons.
He remembered the words from the sermon, however, even at the moment that they proved themselves. He had a moment to reflect, as he was carried unnaturally up and across the evening sky, that indeed –– no one could look upon that face and live.
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