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Under The Cottonwood Tree - A Flying Start
16 May, 2016
author: Rebecca Ditch-Hammack (aka Dreamer)

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Kelly and Jasmine Robin watched from their perch. It was that time of the spring.
Every year about this time Ole Mother Nature said it was time for all the young to spread their wings and learn to leave the nest

Kelly and Jasmine had been cooped up in the nest all season. It was getting uncomfortable for them to keep staying in the same small confined space.

Kelly had been spending the past week spreading his wings and practicing in place how it was supposed to be when he was able to fly.

Jasmine Robin was a couple days behind him.. She watched the way he spread his wings and tried to be like her big brother. Sometimes it was hard to keep up with him but she knew she had to.

"Kelly, Why do you flap your wings so much?". Jasmine asked.

"Because I want to grow to be big and strong like Mom and Dad are. I want to fly in the clouds, Jasmine. Way above the clouds."

"Don't you like our nest Kelly? It is comfortable here and Mom and Dad care for us and take care of us.?"

"Jasmine, have you not seen how much there is beyond our nest", Kelly quipped. "Look at the sky and... and the other trees that we have never explored. If we stay here we will never get to experience any of that."

Jasmine knew he was right. The nest was nice and safe, But there was more to life than just this. She could easily see that there were more trees to explore and more things; even beyond even that.

Jasmine could not sit still any more and joined Kelly in his flappings. The two of them flapped their wings over and over in practice for the flight such as their parents took every day. They both kept practicing everyday until one day Kelly decided it was time.

"Today when mother comes back with the food and leaves I am going to follow her to see where she goes" Kelly announced to his sister.

"What if you can't follow her and fall way down to the ground?" Jasmine said to her brother.

"I guess I will see Jasmine, I cannot stay here. There is so much sky to seen, and trees to visit. There has to be so much more an this."

Jasmine sighed, knowing he was right. She too could see the other trees and longed to visit their branches and see things she had never seen.

" I will stay here for a little while longer", she stated. "I don't know if I will be able to go from here to there." Jasmine flapped her wings. "I don't know if I am strong enough to fly like Mom and Dad. They are so graceful". she added.

When the next day break came Kelly was even more excited about beginning his new adventure.

"Today I will fly" he stated to Jasmine. She was a bit scared for her brother. It was such a long way down if he was wrong.. There was no way she could see, in her mind, that he could possibly survive if he was wrong.

Kelly moved out toward the edge of the nest flapping his wings... "Watch me Jas, I am going to fly like Dad.." Jasmine held her breath. She knew there was no talking him out of it.. Kelly was going to do as he wanted and all she could do it watch.

"Ready" Kelly said

"Set" He added

"Goooooooooo !!!" he yelled as he jumped from the nest...

Kelly flapped, flapped and flapped quickly his wings.. Faster than Jasmine had ever seen him flap before. Jasmine watched him go.. She was scared as she watched him flap his wings. He was unsteady. He was not flying like Mom and Dad Robin. He was not anywhere near as graceful as they were..

Kelly felt his wings flapping. He could feel the wind for the first time as it hit his face. He was flying, Not all that smooth but he moved his small tail to try and steady himself for landing.

He seen a nice post near the big building next door.. He zoomed in on it.. That was where he was going to land.. He put out his feet and continued to flap his wings.

Jasmine watched from above.."Be careful" she called after him.. She watched him fearfully from above.

Kelly put out his feet in front of him, as he had seen his father do every time he landed in the nest. He steadied his wings and glided toward the post in front of him.. 'Ah this isn't so bad' he told himself"

Jasmine turned away, She couldn't watch. But with one eye closed she peeked under her wing towards her brother.

Kelly neared the post. He was going to land.. He was ready.. He seen his target. Feet forward, wings out. Three, Two, One.....

Jasmine sucked in a deep breath as she watched.

Kelly went to grab the post with his feet and caught it. He was so happy.. Wait... Wait.. This wasn't like standing on the nest. The wind was blowing and keeping his balance wasn't as easy as when the nest had been beneath his feet. Kelly flapped his wings..and swayed forward and backwards trying to keep his balance. Jasmine could hardly stand to watch.

"Whooooooa" he called out as he tried to capture his balance.. Kelly had not taken to wind into consideration when he took his first flight.. Jasmine cringed, and shook her feathers thinking about 'what if he had missed the post'. She was so glad he hadn't, but it could have been so easily a bad landing. She shuttered at the thought.

Kelly held on as tight as he could to the post. His little talons were gripped around the wood as tightly as he could.. His wings kept flapping as he swayed forward and backward trying to keep his balance.

"Whoo!!" He would sway forward.. "Whooooo" again as he swung backwards... All the time flapping.. Kelly was not so sure this had been the right choice for him after all. But here he was. He had made it this far he was going to keep going.

He waited till the feeling was right and the wind felt right under his wings.. He could see the edge of the roof about 10 feet in front of him.. He could do this.. It wasn't that much further away. After all, he had gotten this far.

"Be Careful!!!!!" Jasmine called after him.

Kelly was so into the minute he could not even hear her. He looked at the roof.. "I can do this" He told himself.. Each flap of his wings, as he held tight to the post, he told himself 'I can do this.. I can do this' he told himself. Finally he felt the wind beneath his wings just the way he was wanting, and took his leap. Again he flapped. He felt himself move toward the edge of the roof.

He hadn't anticipated the wind coming up once again catching him off guard.

Jasmine watched cringing.

He continued flapping. "Oh Boy!!!!!" he cried out as he knew he was going to miss his mark. Kelly flapped and flapped. He could feel his body as it hit the cement wall. He could not find a foot hold. He kept flapping trying to get the wind beneath is wings again. But is was not happening. He felt himself skidding across the surface of the building. Skidding all the way.

down...
down...
down...

Lower and lower he fell. Fluddering his wings endlessly trying to gain flight. But it wasn't working. He couldn't get off the wall.

He felt his failure, as he slid down onto the grass below the building.

"Are you okay?" he heard his sister call out to him..

"Yeah, I'm okay" he reluctantly called off to her. He panted as he sat there on the ground
thinking about where he went wrong. Thinking about what he would do next. Thinking about how he was going to get back up to that post and try it again.

He didn't notice that only a roof away his Mother was watching him. She knew he had to make his own way and knew that he could do it. She kept watch to make sure that other than the danger to himself there was no danger around him. If there was, she was ready to take it on, in his defense. But luckily today Farmers Grey's cat was no where to be seen.

She called to her husband that Kelly was out of the nest. He too took to light on a near by roof top to make sure that he seen no dangers as his son took to his first flight.

Jasmine was not ready to follow her brother. Especially after watching his not so successful flight.
She sighed and tried to settle back into the nest. With little comfort now that her brother was not there.

Kelly meanwhile.... was sitting on the ground. He was catching his breath trying to decide what he wanted to do now. Did he want to try to fly up or stay here? It was hard to decide. But he had watched Farmer Grey's cat for many days taking this route at dinner time. So he knew he couldn't stay where he was.

He breathed deep as he decided to try and make it back up to the roof again. He stated flapping his wings again..

Flap...
flap flap...
flap flap flap flap....

He felt himself lifting up off the ground. From he spot on the roof. Mother Robin smiled, In only the way that Robin's can. He couldn't seem to get over that forward motion and again flew into the wall of the building. But he kept up his flapping. Determined he would rise above. Flap, flap, flap flap flap. He rose higher and higher.

Now he was under the roof. His mother and sister watched from their different perches. Both hoping he would overcome the direction he was going.

Kelly kept flapping. Moving his tail this way and that until finally he realized that moving his tail and his wings would change his direction. He flew out from under the roof back up to the edge of the roof.

Kelly's father watched from atop the roof and as Kelly arrived at the edge and settled down for a few seconds to catch his breath his father approached.

"Nice Job for a first flight Kelly, I am proud of you. Now can you get yourself back to the nest?"

Kelly panted out his answer as he looked back up towards the nest where his sister sat watching him. "Sure I can Dad"

Kelly was not really as sure as he put on to his father. But looking at the nest he thought to himself there was no place he would rather be than in that old nest.

Kelly set his sights on the nest. Breathing deep he looked and aimed himself in the direction he wanted to go..'I will do this' he said to himself.

He started to flap his wings once again. He took what he had learned about moving his tail and flapped his wings.
once,
twice.
three times.
He shifted his tail slightly he moved up again into the air. He set his sights on the nest.

He had almost surprised himself as he landed with his feet first on the nest next to where his sister lay.

"You're Back!!!!" Jasmine called out joyfully, snuggling into her brother.

Kelly snuggled back. "For now, I am back. Maybe tomorrow you will fly with me."

"Perhaps" Jasmine said with a Robin's smile "Perhaps"

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