Posted by: preacherjean | August 27, 2010

One Reflection on my CPE Experience

As part of our final evaluation on our whole CPE experience, we were instructed to either choose a poem or story that reflected our experience or to write something new. I don’t consider myself a writer, generally, so I certainly wasn’t going to create something new, but I guess the Holy Spirit had other ideas and the following story came to me all at once demanding to be written down. For those of you who don’t know what CPE is, it’s a chaplaincy internship that focuses on group interaction and communication as a large part of the learning process. I was fortunate and blessed to be a part of a very special group with a wonderful supervisor. If any of you read this, I love you!

Leaving the Nest – A Fable

As the sun rose over Madeline Island, a small eaglet raised her downy, wobbly head and looked out over the edge of the aerie, blinking sleepily.

“Hungry!” she thought. “Hungry, hungry, hungry!” She peeped anxiously. At the sound, five other heads popped up from the pile of down in the middle of the cozy nest.

“Hungryhungryhungryhungry!” they chorused.

From far out over the shimmering waves they heard faintly, “I’m coming!”

As they waited, wiggling impatiently, the beautiful mahogany and white shape of their mother materialized out the glare of the sunlight on the gently rippling water. She grasped a large, shiny lake fish in her talons, which she tossed into the nest for them to tear apart and devour.

Over the next ten weeks, Mother Eagle brought tasty goodies from the lake, and once in awhile, from the carcass of an animal killed by a car on the nearby highway. They gobbled everything she brought and asked for more.

“So,” they inquired, sometimes hourly, “will we have herring today? So, will we have whitefish? So, will we have raccoon? We’re hungry, hungry, hungry!” And every day she fed them and they grew and grew and changed, although they didn’t notice it.

One day, in late summer, Brother Wind rose up over Gitchee Gumee and chased her waves into white horses. The eaglets were large now, and crowded in the aerie. The biggest one, squirming around in an effort to remove an errant feather from her eye, flapped her wings to get on top of the feathery pile. A gust of wind caught her under the wings and lifted her clear out of the nest before swirling away again and dumping her unceremoniously back on her sisters. Mother Eagle happened to be standing on the side of the nest watching them fondly and resting from her almost incessant hunting labors.

“Mama, Mama, what HAPPENED?” cried the chick.

“You were flying, daughter.” She gathered them all with her stern gaze. “And so must you all. Eventually, you must all leave the aerie and fly on your own.”

“No, no, Mama!” they wailed. “We never want to leave the aerie! We never want to leave you! We don’t want to fly!”

“But you must, my children,” she replied calmly. “It is the way of our kind to soar on the wind and dive into the lake. You cannot stay here forever, for there will be other chicks who need me. Otherwise the eagles will disappear forever.”

There was a little sniffling and grumbling from the nest, but the chicks could feel the truth of her words in their hearts. They were meant to learn to dance with Brother Wind and play with Sister Gitchee Gumee.

Over the next few weeks, one by one, the eaglets tried out their newly fledged wings. One by one, they felt the power of the wind and their own growing strength in the dance. One day, just as the sun was setting over the hills of the Bayfield Peninsula, the littlest eaglet suddenly jumped up, flapping her wings excitedly.

“Let’s all fly out at once!” she cried. “Won’t Mama be proud?” And with a furious flapping of wings, and just a little confusion of talons and beaks, they did.

From higher up in the aerie tree, Mother Eagle watched the six awkward-graceful pairs of wings unfold, catch an updraft, and soar out over the lake.

“I am so proud of you, my daughters,” she whispered softly. “Take care of them, Brother Wind and Sister Gitchee Gumee, for they are yours now.”


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