Story: The Long Flight

This is a REFRAMING story – what appears clever isn’t always so and the nature of leadership, inspiration, compassion and much more.

Listen to my RECORDING

Read the story below

the long flight

In a woodland clearing, a flock of small birds with brown feathers and bright blue wingtips, spent several hours of daylight practicing flying feats of all descriptions. They loved to dip and tip into the upward currents of wind. They loved to fly low to the tops of trees then, in the very last second, soar up into the sky. They loved to do double and even triple roles in the air. The flock held competitions where the birds would sit up in the treetops and one by one, the champion flyers could perform awe-inspiring flying spectaculars.

Lexy’s parents were champion flyers and Lexy knew, though it was never said, that they had hopes for her. But Lexy didn’t show the early promise that everyone expected and after a while, she didn’t put herself forward for the competitions, preferring to encourage others and congratulate the winners. The extraordinary thing was, Lexy often took it upon herself to help the young birds in their early flying lessons, and could be seen spending much time showing them how to do the various acrobatic stunts. She possessed the ability to know what was required to break down the various movements into parts. Most importantly of all, she was warm and encouraging – inspiring the little ones with confidence. Many of them became excellent flyers under her tutelage.

One winter everything changed. It became exceptionally cold and snowy early in the autumn. The leader of the flock was worried and gathered all the birds together and told them that they would need to fly a long distance to a warmer climate; otherwise some of them could die of cold and loss of food.

It was a big decision but the flock set off bravely, planning to fly south to warmer lands. They were not migrating birds and were unused to flying distances. Many became tired, hungry and underweight: some died. During the long flight, Lexy flew among the flock, encouraging and helping the birds. When they stopped for food and rest, some birds would want to remain to take their chances; it was Lexy who would persuade them to take to the wing and fly that little bit further, to warmth and safety.

Lexy herself seemed to be tireless.

On and on they flew. Now the flock was half the size it had been. Finally, the leader decided on a good place for them to remain. It was warmer there was plenty of food and they would be able to recover their strength. Having led them to this place she died too.

In their new home, the birds gathered to elect a replacement leader. The decision was unanimous. Lexy had tirelessly helped so many of them. She had shown an inner strength and courage that they all recognised and her knowledge of flying was second to none. There was no better leader.

Hilary Farmer