Inhaling deeply, I waited for the soft commanding pull just below my belly button, arranging one hand, then the other, to rest over the cool, ivory piano keys. Like gossamer strands, my fingers went taut for the barest of seconds before compelled into pliant submission. Starting at the tips of my toes, Chopin’s Nocturne in F Major pulsed through my body, whisking me away from the dissonance of the day, to a place of enduring fortitude.
Within moments my spine had softened—a reed bobbing with the cadence of the piece. I embraced the dark, feeling my way through the music without any need for sight.
The song began as somewhat of a lullaby; sweet leisurely notes gently depicting tranquil moments. The high belling overtones danced, rising and falling, dropping and curving, all to present a picture in my mind of birds painting the sky with their flight patterns. Beneath the languid notes there remained a constant and much lower melody—another bird—barely spreading its wings, but enough so that it didn’t tumble to the earth or drown itself within a lake. This little bird, ordinary in shape and color, flew in a straight, steady line just above the ground. Careful not to disturb or disrupt the other creatures of the air, she was content to observe them, watching how they spun and quivered, soared and sang, lifting their voices and their wings in joyous proclamation. She observed their loveliness without envy or impulse, never deviating from her safe trajectory.
By chance, a beautiful butterfly flew by and, taking pity on the pathetic bird, she tried to coax her, encourage her, nudge her away from the dismal ground. Astonished by the sight of such an incongruous bird, the butterfly flapped and fluttered, displaying her vibrant stained-glass wings, trying to lead by example; however, it was to no avail. With one last appeal, she executed a painfully lovely pirouette, taking her time with it, basking in the flaxen sunlight, how each and every molecule in the sky seemed to breathe only for her. Seeing that this was no help, if only a detriment, she chided the little bird: what a waste! A tragedy! No way for a volant creature to live; may as well have been born an earthen bug.
Full of dismay, the butterfly abandoned the little bird, leaving her to her dull and perfunctory and imperceptible life.
And there she stayed . . . until the day she met another bird.
Stormy notes, beastly in temper, rioted in rebellion. Where there was once peace and predictability, there was now chaos and danger; and it was entirely little bird’s fault.
With her head down, she did not see what was coming straight toward her. A collision ensued; a swarthy bird, with eyes like the royal sky railed at her impudence. She tried to explain: it was only an accident, a mistake; never had she expected to find another winged creature this far below the trees, hiding. It was in making this mistake that she would compensate with her most valuable possession.
The little bird . . . was no longer invisible.
© Cara Rosalie Olsen