Fears of Flying

John Michael Goldman

Simon Seagull was the grandchild of Johnathan Livingstone Seagull. From his earliest chickhood he was told of Gramps' amazing flying skills. The weeks passed and as Simon watched gull-let after gull-let soar off the cliffs and scramble up and out into the wind on their maiden flights, his breast was filled with anticipation.

He felt at once, a need to emulate Johnathan, yet a fear that flight itself might be beyond him. He pottered morosely around the colony, the weight of life heavy on his young wings. Finally, a wily old gull named Mack called him over. "Time to fly", he said simply.

"How can I?", wailed Simon.

Mack put his beak up to the wind and sniffed. "Why, time flies, and you can too. Just set your wings for the sky. Let your feathers take the weight. And remember, the sky will applaud your flying. But it will never know about your airplay if your fear keeps you grounded. Then the sky will teach you nothing, 'cos you never gave it the chance. You ready now boy?"

Simon was just about to protest when Mack landed him a sharp kick up his arse. Simon toppled shrieking off the cliff, plumetting downward. He started to make frantic motions with his untried wings and so discovered, that falling is a part of flying.

He fell 'till he coasted into a climb, falling higher and higher; Mack right there on his tail. "And remember" called the old gull, "to doubt that you could ever fail is to live to fly".

And all around him Simon saw gulls swooping and climbing in the triumph that he now knew was his birthright, as Johnathan had taught them all, so many fears of flying ago.