Writing Exercise: Bird’s Reality

Writing Exercise: You are given a pair of wings to help you fly for your birthday. Where do you fly to and why. Write for 15mins, time yourself and read aloud.

It’s my birthday. I am at the side of a road in Ranau, overlooking a sheer drop into dense trees. Behind me is the highway on the mountain range leading up to the highest point in the region, a place called Mount Kinabalu. I am looking at it now a distance away, its hulking mass a sobering sight to what I am about to do. I know what I was going to get for my birthday – my wings. That is why I am here now.

Fully attached, the wings feel natural on my back. I am all dressed up for the occasion. Over my t-shirt, I have on cotton-wool turtleneck shirt, with long sleeves to withstand the cold. With a thigh length short pants, thick cotton leggings cover my legs. I have purposely chosen not to wear loose garments to avoid drags in the wind. That much is planned. The rest is unknown. It is time. Cool air caresses my skin as the rustling of trees becomes more pronounced in the wind.

I backtrack several steps from the edge for a running distance. I’ve been told by my benefactor that I just have to let myself go. Taking a deep breath, I take off the second doubts start to creep into mind. I gasp when I feel the ground leaves me and quickly, I dive headfirst. Eyes closed, the G force pulling my insides, I spread my arms wide. Immediately my wings spread out and begin to flap.

The force of the wind sweeps me up, and I soar until I level my body at a comfortable height, a league away from the canopies of trees. Cold wind rushes across my face and my skin, tugging my hair. It blows uninhibited above this valley. My stomach churns at the thought of falling and I brush it away. Towards the mountain I fly, homing in on a white line on the face of the grey mountain wall. Nearing it reveals a much clearer view. A huge cascade of water coursing down a ragged surface of the mountain into the depths of the jungle. I doubt there are people climbing on this side wall. It’s slippery.

The wings flap as I bank, keeping the mountain to my right. That is when I see it, people, mountain climbers cresting a ridge leading to the top. Two people have noticed me and they are pointing up. On the ridges, the vegetation seem alien, gnarly, stunted, yet colourful. I spot resting seats placed intermittently along the mountain path. After a few kilometres along the climber’s trek I circle back to the mountain. I see a ledge on one of the sheer sides and make my way there. My wings flap to slow down my ascent and I land smoothly on the perch. There I sit enjoying the view of valleys, of rolling jungle clad hills, of cleared lands, of pastures and of human settlements in a bird’s reality.


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