Once upon a time, there was a baby bird named Eaglet who lived in a large nest with his baby brother and sister waaayy up high in a cedar tree. He looked very much like his brother and sister in that his beak was too big for his head, his feathers were sparse and scruffy looking and his wings were awkward and scrawny.
But although he looked similar to his brother and sister, Baby Eaglet behaved quite differently. He behaved differently because he was scared of heights. Baby Eaglet would sit in the middle of his great big nest as far away from the edge as possible because he thought that if he was too close to the edge he would see how far away the ground was and he knew it was a long way down. He was sure of it!
He watched his brother and sister stand at the edge of their great big nest, flap their baby wings and loudly sing 'Skreet Skrrreeettt!' Baby Eaglet would however, stand up, stretch out his wings and sing his 'Skreet Skrrreeettt' song right in the middle of their nest.
During the day, he would watch his Mama and Papa soar and zoom above him. He would listen to the 'whoosh whoosh whoosh' of their powerful wings as they passed by. They were trying to teach him and his brother and sister how to fly.
As the weeks passed by, his brothers' and sisters' wing feathers grew in, making their wings look long, wide and beautiful. He watched as they stood at the edge of their great big nest flapping their wings pretending to fly. 'Whoosh whoosh whoosh' was the sound he heard every time their wings moved up and down.
Not long after, his brother and sister flew away. Baby Eaglet however, remained sitting right in the middle of his great big nest. He dared not step close to the edge of the nest because it was a long way down. He was sure of it!
So baby Eaglet decided to practice flying right there in the middle of his great big nest. He stood up tall, stretched out his beautiful wings and began to move them up and down. Instead of the 'whoosh whoosh whoosh' sound he hoped he would hear, he heard 'slap whap slap'. Baby Eaglet realized that the ends of his wings were hitting the edge of the nest! Disappointed, he sat back down and covered his head with his wing. Poor baby Eaglet. How would he ever learn to fly if he was scared of heights?
As he sat there with his head tucked under his wing, he heard his Mama land quietly beside him. With a soft 'Skreet Skreet' voice, she sang him a song.
"My baby bird
There is a beautiful world below
Of life, a balanced flow
You are my little eagle
You were born to soar
The wind and seas are yours to explore
You are ready to fly
Don't be afraid of the ground below you
Always look ahead, watch, learn and know"
Baby Eaglet uncovered his head and looked up at his Mama, "You mean I'm not supposed to look down?" he asked. His Mother smiled and shook her head no. Baby Eaglet looked over at the edge of his great big nest. He looked back at his Mother who kept on smiling at him. He still did not move. "Was he really ready?" he thought. She finally bent her head down and gave him an encouraging nudge with her beak. Baby Eaglet took a deep breath in, closed his eyes and carefully inched his way over to the edge of his great big nest. When he finally felt the edge with his talon feet, he reluctantly opened one eye, then the next, and instead of looking down, he looked ahead. What he saw was not scary at all! From high on top of the cedar tree in his great big nest, baby Eaglet saw a sparkling vast ocean full of energy and life.
He saw humpback whales breaching, dolphins playing, salmon jumping, seagulls diving and puffins swimming. He stood up tall, held his head up high, stretched out his wings, took a deep breath and jumped.
'Whoosh whoosh whoosh...'
"Always look ahead," he heard his Mama say as he flew away. "Always look ahead."
Message to Canadians: Visit the West Coast and you'll see why we want to fight for it!