Fledging

I have been watching the eaglet in Alaska a lot lately. It’s growing by leaps and bounds, and is starting to look something like a bird with clown shoes and wings that are two sizes too big. It has a lot more feathers, which is nice to see. It’s a Bald Eagle, so won’t have the trademark white head until it’s about 5 years old. For now, it’s just a somewhat chubby and hunched little gargoyle-like character that sleeps a lot after eating huge quantities of food.

I have found this little raptor fascinating to watch, along with its parents and the whole nest ambience. The parents return to the same nest each year, although I believe they skipped one year for some unknown reason. All kinds of stuff can befall even an apex predator out in the wild, I suppose.

As I’ve been studying this eaglet, I have been contemplating a lot about flying, and rising above, and trusting the process of growth. Today I was restless, and irritable. I feel as though I am doing nothing, and money is the only thing flying in my world right now. Real dollar bills are leaving my grasp at amazing speed these days, and I have not even begun to move toward getting that leak repaired. Just another day in a capitalist society.

Even though the eaglet in Alaska is nowhere near fledging, I looked up videos on Bald Eagles fledging. Some of them are hilarious, because the youn ‘uns are one click shy of terrified to step off the edge. They jump around on one foot, hop up and down, flap their wings furiously while standing in place, then more jumping and hopping while flapping. Finallly, they will take the final step and go up, up and away…awkwardly, hesitantly, clumsily. One of them flapped a short distance, seemed to catch the wind, but wound up hanging upside down by its claws in a nearby tree. Oh, well.

The process of fledging is one of courage and instinct, and trusting that both attributes will intersect at the point of success. A young eaglet is still a massive bird, and a raptor, but will have to hone its ability to use all of what it has available to survive. It will have to learn to fish, and tackle lesser birds, and defend itself. They are truly amazing creatures, but even this royalty of the heavens can srew up and find themselves upside down on a tree branch.

I would do well to learn from the young eaglet, which doesn’t have aspirations so to speak, or goals. It just does what its instincts prompt it to do. A couple of days ago, it began standing. Just a minute or so at a time, then I could see the legs wobble slightly just before it flopped to the ground butt first. No big whoop. A while later, it would try again, but in the meantime there was serious exploration of a deteriorating paper bag that had been left in the nest. Priorities, you see.

I am wondering if my restlessness is tantamount to having an instinct to fledge. I am not sure if I’m in a nest or not at the moment, but in a way I suppose I am. I have not left the apartment today, except for taking the dog out, so it’s rather like my nest. I have all manner of warm and comfortable things in here, my creature comforts, my guitars and my fuzzy red slippers and deteriorating paper bags that need exploration. Food arrives in some fashion, either because I go out and procure it from some retail establishment, or I have it schlepped over by a delivery person. Everything I need is here, and I don’t really have to navigate out in the world very much.

Even so, I am restless. I can see the wide open sky, feel the wind currents, observe others of my kind soaring and flying on the breeze. Somewhere a bell rings to remind me that I can do that as well, and I want to. I want to do that so badly. What is holding me here in the nest? I don’t even know if it’s fear per se, but I suppose I just don’t believe that I can do it. I don’t have the confidence that I have anything to contribute to the wide open panorama that is before me.

So. What would it take to take the plunge? I am a bit tired of jumping up and down on one foot, and thinking about the possibility of eventually gradually perhaps at some point maybe jumping off the ledge and using my wings. How long will I remain stuck here? There’s nobody that’s going to feed me any longer, and I’m actually too big for the nest on a long-term basis, soooooo…jump already, why don’t I?

This is really beginning to frustrate me. I don’t quite know what to do – should I stay or should I go? (with a nod to The Clash) I have to do something. I have to do something to change this energy, something to get me out of this rut. Yes, I can inventory that!

OK, let’s see…what’s eating at me? Well, at this very moment, what’s eating at me is that I’m eating ALL THE TIME. I have gained a good bit of weight in the past 60 days, and II don’t feel…good. (Yes, I wrote that.) I feel bloated and heavy, more like the Goodyear blimp than a human being. I am not saying that to beat up on myself, either. That’s just how it feels right now.

So, what can I do with that? I can go an take a walk tomorrow, maybe before it gets too hot. I can eat more responsibility tomorrow, and consume sweets in moderation. I can go back to my protein shakes for meal replacement. And I can drink a lot more water. That’s four separate things I can do tomorrow. Just tomorrow. I won’t plan for a week’s worth of that routine, because that usually sets me up for failure. So, just for tomorrow.

OK, what else is bugging me? Well, there’s the whole job thing, or rather the NO job thing. I’ll get back to that in a minute, because I need to stall for time.

What else? This apartment still looks like a crack house. I can pick up some stuff in 15-minute blocks of time, maybe 3 blocks tomorrow. Just pick up anything that need to be stored, or thrown away, or brought to Good Will or something. 15-minute increments is do-able.

So. There are three nagging issues that I have solutions for. That doesn’t seem terribly daunting.

It’s still rather interesting that I am feeling so restless, though. I wonder how much of that is ambient energy bubbling around me. I have talked to a few people lately who described feeling off their game, out of sorts, befuddled. (I love the word befuddled.)

When I was little, I had this book, about a kind of wise old woman who talked to kids. Her name was Mrs. Pigglewiggle. There were several books about dear Mrs. Pigglewiggle, each one featuring a different problem the kids were having, and how the kindly lady helped them out. I remember one of them was the “I thought you said” condition that suddenly befell all of the children. They were constantly hearing adults speak to them and getting the words all mixed up, punctuating each attempt with “I thought you said…”.

That’s kind of how this is starting to feel, like I thought you said get a job really quickly. I could swear that’s what I heard, but circumstances just don’t seem to be cooperating. I know that I can’t force it, but I wonder if that’s really what I heard. Did I maybe hear that because that’s what I’ve always done? No job – get a job. Any job. A person is supposed to work.

I need the money, but I’m not broke. Yet. And I still haven’t figured out what I want to be when I grow up! If I grow up. Maybe that’s what this is really about, that feeling of needing to fledge – I am trying to grow up? So tired of being alone, I’m so tired up on my own, won’t you help me girl, just as soon as you can? (another nod to Al Green). So yeah, I am tired of being on my own, but I’m not looking for any kind of romantic relationship. I am totally inept at that, and the last thing I need is a BAD relationship.

It feels as though I’m a puppy that needs socialization or something. I loathe ineptitude, and right now I’m not even doing my normal routine very well. I’ve been living in isolation, wearing a steady uniform of sweat pants and t-shirts, with a steady diet of internet surfing and pizza. Not good. Definitely not good. It’s no wonder I don’t sleep well and have weird dreams when I do sleep.

I’ve been here before, when nothing seems to make sense and I don’t seem to fit anywhere. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s damned uncomfortable, and not what I want. Resisting the urge to do a Spice Girls thing, I have got to figure out what it is that I really want. Specifically. I need to write up specifications for the Universe, and mean it. I’m not playing around here, either. It’s really time to live this life, or die trying.

What I want: I want to be healthy. I want to be free of diseases and conditions that say I’m unhealthy. I want to lose the compulsive eating gig – it doesn’t pay and the audience is pretty rude. I want to be unafraid to stay in my own body for long periods of time, for the duration actually. Things shouldn’t be so scary that I have to leave all the time. Maybe the biggest thing I want is peace. Peace between my ears, peace in my body, peace in my soul. In very early sobriety, I was asked what I wanted, and that was my answer then as well – peace.

I’ve been at war inside myself for so long I am not sure I would know how to call a cease-fire. Peace might be too quiet, and boring. I wouldn’t have anything to complain about, or need help with, or have to take medication for. How would that be? I cannot even imagine that, and that makes me a bit sad.

Where is my place? Who are my people? These are the big questions I want answered. Do I make a place for myself, or do I simply happen into one? Do I gather people to me, or do I present myself for admittance? That even sounds ridiculous, so I’m not going there. But, I need my people. I have a handful of them, actually, and that’s a good thing. I’m not sure what else I need, but I definitely feel as though something is missing.

As far as my place, that seems to be slightly loaded, as in do I know my place, the place society tells me I should occupy. But that’s not MY place. That’s somebody else’s place for me, not the place I feel that I belong. So what is the place where I belong? That’s a far more difficult question than simply contemplating a physical place. Belonging is another thing entirely.

I’ve got to think about this, because I’m not getting any younger sitting here and thinking about this. It’s not something I can figure out, or a mere problem that needs a solution. This is a matter of the spirit, and the answer depends on exactly who I am spiritually. I know my name, I know where I came from, but do I know who I am? I thought I did. I would say that I know a lot of things about myself, but do I really know who I am such that I could articulate it? I don’t quite know how to answer that. We’ll see.

Years ago, several people told me that I should write my memoir. I thought about it, but at the time didn’t have time for such a thing. Well, now I have time. But who the hell wants to know anything about my boring life? What the hell would that even be about? Maybe that’s the work I need to be doing, I suppose.

The other day I was on a call about some social justice thing or another, and one of the facilitators said if you want to know what to do, do the best you can, for as long as you can, nothing more and nothing less. So I’m going to do that. When I make my 15-minute cleaning sweeps through the apartment tomorrow, I will do the best I can, for as long as I can, nothing more and nothing less.

It occurs to me that I know all about doing less than my best. I want to leave that behind. It’s not who I want to be, and I don’t have to be someone I don’t want to be. I’ve re-created myself more than once, but now it’s time to treasure the creation. It’s been incubated for q while now, and it needs to be delivered. That feels right.

Emerging heart.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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