The flock of birds flew from beyond the horizon. Across the water it dipped and darted—a thousand wings catching the sun with every beat. From where he stood on the shore it looked as if a rainbow had scattered into a million pieces filling the sky with fluttering prisms of color. When it descended around him in a storm of wings, each bird began chattering and twittering all at the same time. It was an oddly pleasant sound at first, yet it soon overwhelmed him. He spun around. So many birds—some huge, like feathery dragons, others small enough to alight on your finger. He couldn’t move. There were birds everywhere. He couldn’t even swim for the water was filled with birds bobbing up and down in the waves. He could hardly think for their constant chatter rained around him in one gray cloud of confusion. And then he knew what he had to do. He lifted his arms like branches and stood—still as a tree in the morning light. And they came, bird after bird landing on his outstretched arms. After they had settled upon him he slowly drew his arms into a circle in front of himself. It was a gesture of the greatest gentleness, and the birds adjusted accordingly as he brought his arms to an eye level ring. He looked at each bird in turn and then sent up his own winged prayer. And then he blew a soft breath at each bird, and one by one they startled and flew away, until at last, one bird—one white dove–remained. They stared into each other’s eyes with such intensity that neither moved and neither noticed the flock around them had scattered to other shores. He sat down and let the bird settle comfortably in the open cup of his hands. They talked all day and night exchanging stories and laughter. And when the sun rose again over the ocean, he whispered one last thing to the dove and stood, lifting his hands to the sky. The dove looked at him and cooed its thanks, and then flew towards the horizon carrying his clear and focused vision. He turned and walked back to the village carrying the dove’s songs and secrets, and together they changed the world.
Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog