Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Spirit of Life: An Adult Program on Unitarian Universalist Spirituality

Untried Wings

Reprinted from Life Tides by permission of Sarah Tarbox. Copyright (C) 1993. Published by Skinner House Books, an imprint of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Hollow bones, streamlined feathers, and wings shaped to push aside the viscosity of air are not what make birds fly.

Birds let go of their grasp on safe perches at the tops of trees because something calls to them. They unfold their untried wings and feel an unimagined power. They soar out, up, and through the winter sky because an ancient longing pulls them home.

Loosed from the sticky grasp of earth, free from the snarls of lesser creatures with daggers in their teeth and muscles in their legs, birds laugh upward, homeward, drawn by a calling which bids them welcome in the sky.

Bird, take me with you when you go. Oh not my lumbering body and knitted tissue, no. Take some other me with you, some invisible soul of me that hears the call you hear, that moves effortlessly with you through the bright pink silk of dawn and the warm butter spread of morning. Carry my longing to be weightless, to move as light moves, to be unseen, scattered through time and space. Teach me to trust my wings.

About the Author

Elizabeth Tarbox

The Rev. Elizabeth Tarbox (1944–1999) served congregations in Middleborough and Cohasset, Massachusetts. She is the author of Evening Tide: Meditations (Skinner House, 1998). Evening Tide: Meditations...

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