Today, I spent the afternoon working, sipping coffee, and watching an eagle on a naked tree nearby. The eagle likes to sit on one of its twig-like branches. I watched it fly high into the sky and then dive way down, almost like a torpedo chasing a target. There was nothing else there, as I could gather after I left all my work undone and the coffee to get colder, and kept watching it.
It would come back to that branch, and it would take its time, and then it would fly upwards. It would keep going until it was the only thing of significance in that blue sky. The sole mark on the canvas, stretching its wings as wide as it could as it reached its personal zenith. Then, it came crashing down. It went like an arrow, aiming for something invisible.
I saw it surrendered all control as it was coming down. It wasn’t chasing anything, and surely it wasn’t aiming for anything. It was no arrow. It was a rock. It was falling freely in the wind, but it wasn’t free. It was falling like a person falls when they’re going for rock bottom. The motion is free, and they’ve lost all control. Of course, not of their own volition.
It wasn’t until the eagle would reach near the tree again, until it touched the periphery of the known world again, that it decided to turn and flap its wings. It would start to gain some sense of control. Quickly too, since it immediately changed its trajectory, flapped its wings once, and swung back to the branch.
This entire display reminded me of myself when I fell countless times, and how I’d keep falling with no sense of reality in my immediate sight. Until I saw some part of who I was, perhaps, in a familiar place, and I’d change the trajectory. I’d go back to where I had started from in one flap.
Perhaps, the eagle was testing itself against its own nature, knowing all too well that it would gain control before it hit the ground. Perhaps, I had been doing the same all this time. Perhaps, it has been so long, both of us have forgotten what came first — the fall or the recovery. Or maybe, it was the other way round. Maybe, we’d both learned, albeit differently, that the only thing left to do was to keep going.
Life was all about the manoeuvre.