The rising sun in the east illuminates the increasing mat of stratocumulus clouds in the sky. Weird shadows, mystical in look, intermingle high above. Four loud, very loud, bangs reverberate through the hills. Dogs bark, a single chickadee continues to sing.

There is a bird called the gooney bird. Feathers askew give it a look which inspires instant laughter, ungainly wings and feet belie its serious demeanor. It is not a purposefully funny bird (like ravens or parrots are apt to be) but from our eyes it has the character of a clown, constant slapstick.

No, I’m not looking out my window right now and seeing a gooney bird use the driveway for a runway.

That isn’t even their real name, if truth be told. They are the juvenile Laysan Albatrosses who live on Midway Island in the South Pacific. I believe they can be found other places as well, but that historical site is their main breeding ground.

They are masters of flight, their wings carry them almost effortless thousands of miles.

Once they learn to get off the ground to begin with.

These birds are made for flying but not for taking off. They flap their wings, bounce into the air, similar to those old movies of early attempts at human mechanical flight.

The temperature rises, parents come back to feed less and less frequently, leaving the birds each day more and more in need of rising into the sky, and less and less strong. Many die. A great many. Because they are both drawn, by strong genetics, to stay near their nest, and drawn, by strong life-giving urges, to find their own food in the ocean.

I write this because the image of the gooney bird running along the onetime military runways, trying to use their ungainly wings to lift their ungainly body into the sky to rise with the wind and soar high, but not quite succeeding for too long a time, fits my sense of spiritual self.

There is that yearning, that call, to fly, to soar, yet my ungainly spiritual being hugs the ground, tying me down despite my efforts. I am both ally and enemy.

If I do not break the bonds, sever the ties which constrain, I will perish. Maybe not physically, not for a while, but there will not be life to find.

So, I flap my wings, run along, looking silly to those on the heights, peculiar to those who don’t know why to fly. Mindless of appearance, and still not attaining my goal, it is a sad sight.

Until the day. Until the day. Then… glory.