To Live with Wings Fully Extended

The small cormorant stands on a rock.

She is an angular dark gray bird with markings the color of orange peel around her face. I’ve heard birds like her described as “gangly,” “unattractive” and, more pointedly, “ugly.”

But the cormorant doesn’t care. She stands on the rock. She extends her wings as far as they will go. Then she holds herself there. The sun shines itself right at her. And it’s odd to say, but she shines and she glistens right back.

I know that she is drying her wings. She dives into the water for fish, crab, mollusks. But she doesn’t have the oil duck feathers have. There’s no water off a cormorant’s back. So she must work with the sun.

And we so rarely get to see each other’s full wingspan. But here is this little bird – in defiance of her smallness and all those adjectives she gets called – taking her share of the sun from wingtip to wingtip.

I wish we could all see her. But since we can’t, I wish we could all remember that it is a beautiful thing to live with our wings fully extended.

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