The Little Tern

Location: Dhanuskodi Beach, along Palk Starit, Pamban Island
Little Tern flying away into blues, on Dhanuskodi beach.

   “That little one can fly! Against the bright blue sky, over the sparkling blue ocean, cutting through the oceanic winds, that little creature can fly. Beauty! Magic! Freedom!”

   Not that I had never seen a bird flying, but flying in open sky has always amazed me. And as if it was not enough, the bird was Beauty in itself; She was a Little Tern flying against the sky over the white beaches of Dhanushkodi along the clear Palk Strait.

   The little creature was no bigger than a fist. She was of the purest white, which gave an illusion of being light blue which reflected from the sky. With black color on her head, she seemed to have been crowned in Beauty Pageant. Black beak and black legs, also the tips of her wings were stroked with black. Immortal brushes painted her with pure white with a slight touch of black. But this little creature was much more than just beauty. 

   For flying, she flapped her wings rapidly and vigorously; each of the flap, showing the strength of her wings. Head risen high in the sky with beak pointed ahead towards the open ocean. Legs joined together leaning backwards in a perfect manner to minimize the drag. And the end tail opened fully to give balance to flight, which added to beauty too.

   She was so adorable, that it made me mimic her. I opened my arms like she opens her wings. I popped out my chest and took a deep breath, preparing for the flight. I started flapping my arms like she flaps her wings. I closed my eyes, and entered my dream world, where I could fly too. In the real world, only she can fly and I can only imagine. I just started to soar towards the high sky, when I heard it – “Splash…” And it disturbed my dream and brought me back.

   I saw her coming out of the surface of water and rising up. “Now, this should be real magic! Or… Am I still dreaming?” The wanderer in me thought. But the practical me, who strives to understand things, was made to think “How did she come out of those waters?” And the observer me started studying them. After spending an age, I could make out a pattern –

   She comes flying from the white sands of the beach, flying just above the ocean. Swiftly she soars higher and ahead against the light wind coming towards the land. Flying seems so easy for her, like walking seems for us. 

   As she advances into the ocean, she faces strong winds coming against her. Though her speed decreases drastically, she keeps going on. Her wings flapping hard, struggling and advancing against the great force. But she keeps on. Her head, risen high, bows a little for the aerodynamic support. 

   Some distance ahead, the winds become stronger, making it harder for her to fly any further; still she doesn’t give up. Her advancement comes to halt, but not her will. Her will to go on, her will to reach her destination, her will to struggle hard. I was wondering what was there for her, on the other side of the ocean, that filled her with so much determination. To fight against great winds where you are so tiny, is not a weak heart’s job. Giving her full strength, she flaps her wings, scrabbling hardest, hovering over at the same place, she waits to get a chance to fly ahead. But for few seconds.

   Struggling pangs strikes her, and for a second she looks down, maybe appraising her struggles. She dives down in the ocean, falling down at gravitational acceleration. Like she can’t fly, or for a moment she forgets to fly or worse – she doesn’t want to fly anymore. 

   Splash! She goes sharply inside the ocean, penetrating the water, and creating huge ripples. A moment and forlorn feelings struck me.

   But, in the consecutive moment she amazed me. She comes out immediately, with so much adrenaline, so much freshness, and much more will. It made me think, what did the ocean do to her? She soars again towards the place, where the high sky meets the deep ocean. 

   She comes back, prepared to struggle a little more, determined to give up a little better, and destined to come back again.
#Aara

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