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Firebird, the Avian Messenger
By Regino L Gonzales, Jr.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Rated "G" by the Author.
A small bird tasked with bringing a message of hope..
I was quite young and small, learning to soar on the winds and enjoying a game with my friends when the Master of our flock summoned me for a mission. “A kind couple needs you. Fly east towards the sun until your wings will snap off. Be with them.” It has never been our way to complain as our survival much depends on the wisdom the Master. My mother once told me that he is with the One who made us and gave us wings to fly, a gift He did not grant to other creatures.
The Master’s order ‘fly east …be with them”, was too cryptic and far beyond my small mind to comprehend. Without understanding its purpose, I headed towards the Sun, as fast as I could. Sometimes I glided to rest, and then resumed to flap my tired wings. Finally it snapped and my strength ran out. I fall to the ground with little consciousness left. My last recollection before passing out was that of gentle hands lifting me off the ground.
Cold water was dripping on my beak when I awakened from unconsciousness. A man assisted by a woman were squeezing droplets of water into my bills, which I gladly swallowed to quench my thirst. I found myself placed inside a cage with a wooden bar to perch on. There was a cup of water placed beneath the bar and another cup containing whitish grains which the couple thought I could eat.
Few humans understood or cared to understand the Maker’s purpose for creating us, the flyers and wind dwellers. Fewer even know that we are gifted with the sense to discern human feelings of joy, love, sadness and despair. And only very few realized that, in His infinite love for all creatures, the Creator made some of our kind to be used as symbols of peace, freedom, hope and courage.
Obviously soul mates, the couple was not in the best of moods when they arrive at their apartment carrying a bundle of vegetable stalks and a bag of fruits bought from the market. They were not natives. The lady just recently came from across the vast ocean. They were depressed when they found me.
The lady’s thoughts were on her sick father and mother, her children and a grandchild she left back home in search of better education with the hope of finding employment at a later time. With no stable means for subsistence, she was worried about where and how she will find money for their food and medicine. She was also ill and was just waiting for an opportunity to have a free operation and treatment in the nearby government hospital. The guy had few bucks left in his pocket and was worried that whatever is left of his meager pay may not be sufficient for their basic needs until the next payday.
Such was their mood when the couple found me, almost lifeless.
The guy gently picked me up, carried me back to their apartment and placed me in a cage used previously to nurse a sick kitten.
In my cage I was able to drink from the cup of water placed beneath my perching bar. But I could not eat the white grains on the other cup. I tried it but it tasted awful, unlike the seeds and fruits that we used to peck from big trees.
Noticing that I had not eaten the grains they placed on the food cup, the guy went out and brought some seeds that look like the ones we used to peck with gusto. I tried to scoop some but the granules were too big for my beak. So, I gave up trying.
Finally, they found a way to feed me. The lady placed the seeds inside a small canister, pried my bills open and dropped seed after seed into my mouth from the canister. The method worked and I was able to swallow the seeds falling from that small container. They tasted so good that I usually kept some in my mouth for sometime before swallowing them.
The couple took turns in feeding me- before the sun rises, before it sets and anytime they sensed that I wanted to eat or drink. I learned to be spoiled, not eating and drinking on my own. Whenever I am hungry or thirsty, I just chirped loudly. And they dutifully fed me using that seed canister and water dropper. With a steady supply of food and water I grew fast.
They usually go out in the morning and come back in the afternoon. As my way of greeting them, I chirp loudly and flap my wings when they come back and open the apartment door. These small acts unfailingly evoked smiles.
I gradually regained my strength and felt that my wings have healed. I doubled my weight in less than one moon. My beak also became big enough to easily scoop the seed granules and drink fresh water from the cups that were always cleaned and filled by the lady.
Our specie grows to a much bigger size than our smaller cousins and, with a good supply of food we reach our normal size in just few moons. Mature members of our flock can fly to great heights and can travel over vast spans of water and mountains. We are also gifted with a very sharp vision and keen sense of hearing. Flying at great heights we can discern very small creatures that move on the ground and hear the sounds that they create. We are superb location finders. We can fly for days away from our flock and easily find our way back to where we came from or rejoin our flock which may have moved elsewhere while we were away.
On my second moon in the cage I started to feel the boredom of living like a captive. One day, I heard the calls of my friends from the flock who were scanning the trees and the grounds searching for me. I called back and told them where I was. Since then they visited me everyday and talked with me while perched on the surrounding trees.
I was so bored one day that when the couple was out of the room, I toyed with the seed container that the lady placed below my perching bar. Not knowing what else to do I scooped and swallowed it. My throat had grown larger and the object went through it easily into my stomach.
Used to welcome the couple with lots of chirping and flapping every time they come home, they were surprised when I was silent that day. They observed that I did not look well. The lady, who was more observant of the two, noticed that the canister had disappeared from its usual place, below my perching bar.
The couple was confounded. They looked for the object everywhere in the room but were unable to find it. Finally, they tried to open my beak and tried to drip water into my throat. When I refused and squeezed my beak away, they concluded that the only possible explanation for the canister’s disappearance was my having swallowed it.
The lady was more worried because she was the one who last fed me and she knew where she placed the canister. I can discern pain in her heart thinking that I could die from her negligence. They talked about taking me to a human who knows how to open my stomach and remove the object from it. They felt so guilty for their lack of caution. They did nothing useful, except pondering what to do with me, that day.
Feeling unease and pain with that indigestible canister in my stomach, I tried to disgorge it through my rectum with all my strength. It went through, after several attempts, tearing part of my rectal tissue. I sensed the couple’s relief when they found the object lying beside the cup of water. They were baffled how I managed to disgorge that large object.
Living in a cage was a boring existence. I envied my friends who were free to soar on the winds calling me everyday. I made noises at every opportunity to catch the couple’s attention and even showed them that I was already strong by pecking on the metallic bars of the cage and flapping my wings loudly.
The guy finally took me out of the cage, closed the entrance to the room and released me. I flew around the room showing them my strength and evading them before they finally caught me and put me back in the cage. They couple deliberated and talked about trying to let me fly out the following day. But I kept on making loud chirpy noises that the guy finally said to the lady, “Let’s release her outside and see if she can fly.”
They brought me outside the apartment and mounted me on a small tree branch. I knew I was free and started flying from tree to tree around the apartment building. I took one last glimpse at the couple and flew higher. They were smiling with tears in their eyes when they saw me soared.
As I flew to rejoin my flock, I pondered on the Master’s purpose of sending me to the couple. They were desperate when they picked me up and nursed me back to health. Yet, even with tears in their eyes, they were smiling and full of hope when they saw me fly away.
It downed on me that they were on the depths of despair and hopelessness at the time the Master gave me the mission. In redirecting their thoughts to bring me back to life and health, they regained their hopes and confidence to cope with life’s trials. It was only then that I fully understood the grand mission that the Master bestowed on me.
The couple named me Firebird. I was given the privilege of being chosen as the One’s avian messenger of hope.
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|Reviewed by Jean Pike
|What a beautiful story, Regino, written with such grace and wisdom. I always enjoy your stories, but I think this is my favorite of all.|
|Reviewed by Sheri Uy
|Very touching story. I feel very personal about Firebird and the message she delivered. Thank you for writing about her. I always thought of Firebird as a she. God bless you!|
|Reviewed by Regis Auffray
|A fine story with a powerful message, Regino. Thank you for sharing it. Love and peace to you,
|Reviewed by Gwendolyn Thomas Gath
"Firebird, the Avian Messenger"
Ahh this indeed was a very well written and powerfully heart touching narrative. From the introduction to the conclusion I as
Firebird was captivated and captured between each line. Well done Regino and quite unique also. I enjoyed reading this wonderful presentation that you created.
Thank you for sharing and my heart was with every line.
Such strength and beauty I found in this writing.
Continued blessings to you always