When Nicola pointed me to Alessondra’s Great Horned Owl Cam a month or so ago, I was hooked. Every day I would watch the live USTREAM video feed of the mother and father owl feeding and taking care of their two owlets: Tigris and Teegra. Every few days it seemed like the owlets grew twice their previous size. It was a magnificent experience watching how Great Horned Owls raise their own.
Sadly, we all knew the day was coming when Teegra and Tigris would fledge, and leave the nest, and their mother and father, and each other — and us! — forever.
Teegra’s beautiful fledge was caught live on camera. The owlet was perfectly perched on the balcony railing for a long while waiting for the sun to set and a safer first flight wind to set in and, watching the crouch — and the inevitable first liftoff — brought tears to your eyes because you knew this leaving had to be even though you didn’t really want it to happen. You selfishly wanted them to remain owlets forever just because they were so much fun and had such great, distinctive, personalities of their own.
Here’s the stills sequence of the video fledge. It all happens in less than a second. What’s left behind is a yellow tulip silently swaying in the wind from Teegra’s wings:
I watched that fledge over and over and tried to find some happiness in the dusk of Oklahoma City because I was so sad the whole experience was finished. I was fulfilled and empty at the same time for a long while.
I realized Teegra’s fledge is precisely what we are each required to do every day. We are forced to leave behind our human regret, and the mistakes of our past, and the broken promises — and the failed relationships that tend to anchor us under — and we are expected to wait for the wind and the sky to be just right as we crouch, and fly forward, to brilliantly meet the horizon.
Have you fledged today?