The seagulls swooped and fell while others drifted on the updraft, hanging in the air like a child’s mobile suspended above their cot. The waves pounding the cliff face below provided the music, a lullaby of breathing in and breathing out.
I caught a glimpse of a Wandering Albatross whose wingspan is longer than I am tall. They say the albatross never touches land, except to feed and to mate, drifting from current to current. Is the albatross I see on the edge of the horizon a lost soul searching for home?
The ruckus of congregating seagulls at my feet was angling for the scraps from my lunch of fish and chips. Cheeky buggers; they have no manners. But I envy the birds and their power of flight.
When we were kids, my older brother and I pored over books we borrowed from the Library on paper aeroplanes. We manufactured every design and plan, testing our creations from the back deck of the house. Some we built for tricks, others for distance. My brother was fascinated with the physics of flight while I found the artistry in the folding. I branched out to origami, creating flocks of flightless birds I hung from the ceiling in my bedroom.
The need to fly never left me and I found the power to fly through words. Pen and paper, ink and ideas.
At my hand lies an old journal of mine I found when cleaning out boxes from the garage. My fifteen year old self was such an idiot. But there were words and sentences; flights of fancy in ribbons of black ink. I would slipstream over and under the words as they flowed.
Simply on a whim I tore a page from the journal and fashioned a crude paper aeroplane. Standing up from the picnic table I moved towards the edge of the cliff, parting the seagulls as an avian John the Baptist. As a prayer I launched the paper aeroplane, throwing my words into the world.
My word shall not return to me void, says the Lord God Almighty. I so hope the words coming back to me aren’t swear words.
The paper aeroplane took flight, bobbing in the eddies and draughts, flying down towards the maelstrom of waves. It dipped and spun, ducked and weaved to be consumed by the waters below.
Pages flew from the hanger of my journal, transformed into shapes born for flight. Some plummeted to the ground, felled by the weight of the words. Others returned to me from the void, swept upwards by thrusts of air. They flew over my head and were lost in the scrubland behind the car park. The temptation to search for my words was strong, to see what was so important that it should return, but I let them be.
With my journal now a spine without a body to support, I headed back to the car. I paused from turning the ignition, caught by one more vision of the albatross. Childhood has aged into adolescence, matured into adulthood, yet I am still learning how to fly.