The Fwhump Bird

In its native setting, the fwhump bird begins by soaring around an imaginary vortex in broad and lovely arcs. Offering only a flap or two of its wings, it communicates deceiving calm. Only a concerned observer would recognize its loops as purposeful. It looks playful, romping in the open heavens with no aim other than the joy of exertion.

Yet every circuit cuts off a few feet of air. Turning back to examine its wake, the bird reassures itself nothing has changed—nothing wrong—but the simple act of retrospection draws the circle tighter. The Fwhump bird feels increased resistance. Wind meets its curl, and its curve almost seems too tight to hold.

And the bird begins to enjoy these severe maneuvers, suddenly proud of the whistling circles marking its disciplined, superior habits. “Others,” the bird says to itself, “would not be able to maintain so keen an edge.” Pride possesses it. The bird dives into circuits shorter by fine distinctions, smaller and smaller revolutions. Soon its flight path describes a language entirely the bird’s own. It feeds itself with effort and speed, ignorant someone else might see it as dangerously self-absorbed and bent on some odd confession of its uniqueness.

The fwhump bird stops looking back, stops looking ahead. The labor of its relentless flapping implies a point at the center of this circle, a destination that must be worthy, but only the bird’s determination makes it seem so. Otherwise, that end point looks like pure air.

About then, the inevitable dawns in the bird’s mind, what’s coming. Anyone might expect the bird to pull out and return to play, but it’s past that. So much effort piled on effort—how could it stop? With the abandon of throwing itself into a fire, the bird turns one time more, tighter.

Up in the sky, it becomes a spinning top, a blur of feathers.

Then, with a resounding “Fwhump,” it flies up its own ass…and disappears.

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Filed under Allegory, Ego, Essays, Experiments, Identity, Laments, life, Meditations, Modern Life, Parables, Thoughts, Worry, Writing

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