I had a fun little visit at the York, Maine, zoo recently, and I wanted to share this part with you because it's like the Red-billed Hornbill there felt it very important to share some tips on Life Agility - you know, keeping the fun and freedom alive while working with and around obstacles, et cetera.
His calls from his cage, followed shortly by grand aerobatics, captured my attention. I ended up having to agree with him that, yes, he's full of talent, and pretty smart to stay strong and ready in case the door of his cage was ever left open. Because, you know, 'life'...
ANYhoo, in the mean time, he seemed happy to accommodate my having to switch to the 'sports/action' setting of my point=and-shoot camera due to his speed. A patient teacher to anyone willing to look up from their own lives long enough, he set about teaching some maneuvers - and not just once. It was important to "get it".
So, let's begin.
"Agility" is about getting good practice on what to hang on to, what to let go of, and when. The "how" is more about "whatever ways work - style it!". He gave some examples using a spot he's very familiar with now, and seems pretty satisfied with himself that he rarely repeats youthful mistakes anymore. And when he does, well, life happens, and getting busy with something else helps the pain, fear and embarrassment fade.
Trade Secret: Study the OPEN spaces; ANYthing can act like a 'perch'. With time and practice, it'll be easier and easier to do in just about any situation.
Because perches are only there to rest, not live; fly however you can, rest whenever you need. You'll get the rhythm of it.
|Meet the Red-billed Hornbill. Look up his cool "call" sometime; he speaks up freely, too.|
One of these inspired the bird 'Zazu' in 'The Lion King' years ago, but I think I'll just call this one "Red". Not like he'd answer me, anyway.
|Now, here is where Red was after he was done calling and had my full attention.|
"Firmly in place..."
|Instead of heading for a boring straight shot forward, Red wanted to enjoy his stretch,|
so he hooked a sharp left, banked to port, and wove himself around the 'things behind him'.
|As he did so, it's like Red was trying to say, "So what if it's narrow? I know my wings, and I know this part is plenty wide enough - BUT watch what I do next."|
|Little bit of a tuck for a few split seconds on the way. No big deal. Marsh (Harrier) Hawks do it all the time between tree branches.|
|Big space for an easy go.|
|Enjoy a fun up-swoosh and peg that landing.|
NOW: Once more, with feeling!
|Dive into the free space!|
|Wow them with your maneuvers!|
|Glorious and naturally "you" at EVERY angle!|
|"I couldn't help but add a flourish there!"|
|(In time, even "tight spots" look like "nothing" and break the stride less and less).|
|(Down-swoops are EVERY bit as grand as up-swoops; the grandeur just happens to be more visible to an onlooker than ourselves).|
|"Stayin' Fancy in the Free Space"|
|"NOW to throw in the glorious finish!"|
|"Trick is to be a LITTLE less flappy when reaching for the next pause, or you'll arrive with some force and wonder why you feel beat."|
|"Use a sense of thrill, and let that be behind your launch. Because every day is a good day to fly."|
|More of a "swoop" in the turn, more wingtip action to show off the accents, in case you didn't catch that...|
|"Notice I'm going a little HIGHER than the sticks this time, preferring the sense of free space this time instead of agility and making myself smaller..."|
|Last home stretch...|
|"AAaaaand a LA!"|
I wonder if he ever spoke with a friend's dog that insisted we throw balls and such during a long walk, to remind us to "play along the way, throwing while you're going, because life's too short to go without it too long."
Well, happy trekking!