Contemplative Tuesday: Losing & Gaining

9 May 2023

Of all the birds that catch my eyes, the flamingoes take first prize. Apart from their pinkish plummage, their straight legs are a thing of beauty as they strut confidently from one spot to another in the mud without losing momentum.

Birds taking flight from tree branches or from the arm of their handler, while their talons rip off barks or leave marks on the protective arm cover is a delight to me. And those perfect landings on flimsy laundry lines & bobbing along with the wind is ballet!

If I can make a personal wish in this life, it will probably be to know what it feels like to walk without limping and without swaying from side to side. Even if it is just for one day.

“Where are you going? Do you need a wheelchair?” asked the young staff with a look of concern mixed with hesitation. He was unsure of how I would react to his offer of help.

It was closing time at the newly opened Bird Paradise at Mandai Lake.

“I think I can manage. Cos that was how I got in.” I assured him brightly. My heart was already full from an afternoon of avian magic with friends and now this young man.

He would later tell me on our way to the taxi stand that his heart simply couldn’t take it to see me walking like this, while he was standing around with two strong legs. And no, he didn’t want me to think he was pitying me.

His parents have taught him to help others and not expect to be praised.

We went on to exchange views on decision making in life and the need for time to create emotional distance before we can accurately process an experience that has happened, especially if it is not aligned to our plans.

By the time we said goodbye, I realised we wouldn’t have this moment if I had two good legs.

Meanwhile my admiration for flamingoes and those who can move about with ease will never diminish.

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