This is my entry for this weeks theme ‘If I had wings and could fly’
If I had wings and could fly
They looked up at the clear blue sky through the broad leaves of the beech tree, and watched the birds circling overhead.
“You know what I’d do, if I could fly?” he said.
She stretched lazily as she looked up at the sky. “What? What would you do?”
“I’d be a huge predator, with a massive wingspan, vicious talons and a sharp beak. And I’d swoop down and kill those buggers up there!”
She curled up closer and rolled over look to at him sideways. “What have you got against those birds?” she asked
“Haven’t you seen the way they attack the defenceless grubs and snails down on the ground. Sheer bloody genocide if you ask me. No respect at all for God’s smaller creatures.”
“But they can’t help it, it’s in their nature, isn’t it?”
“Huh! Just because they evolved the gift of flight. Gives them an unfair advantage.”
She laughed. “Yes, but that’s evolution for you, innit?”
He stretched. “Yeah, s’pose so. But still, it’d be nice to be up there wouldn’t it?”
Typical man, she thought. Looks at the beauty and wonder of nature, and all he can think about is violence!
They both stretched luxuriantly on the grass beneath the tree, enjoying the early summer warmth. The heat made them hungry, and they picnicked on their eggs and healthy green salad until they were sated. The man curled up into a ball, stretched out again with a yawn, and fell asleep.
She listened to the lazy buzzing of the bees and watched as they dipped into flower after flower, gathering the sweet nectar. Now they’ve got the right idea, she thought, as the sound and the warmth lulled her also into a deep slumber.
When she awoke, it felt as if she had slept for days. Where was the boy who’d been with her? She felt disorientated, and tried to remember what she had done before she slept. She peered all around but there was no sign of her erstwhile companion. Had it all been a dream? She could vaguely remember, they had been talking about something – flying, yes, that was it. How nice it would be…
She began to have strange, indescribable feelings, like what she supposed they called an ‘out-of-body experience’, and she had an irresistible urge to throw off her clothes. She looked around – there was nobody there to see, only the birds and the bees, so why not?
The sun felt even better on her naked body, and all of her senses became more alive. She could smell the blossoms in the meadow, and the buzzing bees sang to her of delicious tastes. And her perception of colours changed somehow. She looked at her limbs as she stretched them out to their full span: there were new colours there too, colours she had never seen before, jewel-like colours, shimmering and iridescent in the bright sunlight. As her wings unfolded, little by little, she began to feel what it might really be like to fly, to soar with the birds. At last a soft waft of gentle breeze under the beech tree lifted her, bore her up in its arms, released from the bonds of gravity, up into the freedom of the air, and with a first fluttering gesture of the glorious tapestry of her wings she was flying.
Instinct taught her the aerial manoeuvres, rivalling the wheeling birds above, but silent, infinitely more subtle, unique. From above the branches of the tree, she looked down at the bees, going about their work and sipping the nectar. Not lazy at all, she now realised: that’s the way to do it. She fluttered down and emulated them, manoeuvring skilfully amongst the blossoms and dipping her proboscis deep into the waiting throats and tasting for the first time the sweet nectar. “I could do this forever!“ she thought, as she moved on to the next flower, shaking off the small deposit of yellow powder that had attached to her magnificent wings.
But she also felt somehow that she had another task to fulfil. As she took to the air, lifted on the thermal currents over the meadow, she became conscious of others around her, circling and wheeling, and she was aware that she was definitely the centre of attention. They were males, and she just knew she was exquisitely beautiful, but there must be something else attracting them to her: maybe her scent was as mesmeric as her colours. They flocked around her. Was this one, or that one, the boy she had picnicked with under the tree perhaps? She rather hoped so: he was nice, she recalled.
As they ascended above the level of the trees, the two engaged in a complex, wild, liberated, aerial ballet, spiral after spiral, daring, fluttering swoops and dives. Now this really is flying, she thought, dizzy with the twisting, turning moves. And as finally he entered deep into her body, she felt an ecstasy surely unique in all the animal kingdoms of all the universe, and her head felt as if now – now! – it should explode, her life fulfilled. They parted with a shudder, and as she glided and soared to settle on the leaves of the beech tree under which they had lain, she knew she had one last task to perform. Settling on the underside of a broad leaf, she deposited her eggs, smaller than a sesame seed, and the next generation of the Monarch butterfly began its slow, strange journey into the sunlit future.