Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Dodo has landed

The Dodo Au Go-Go is in flight.

Well, it hasn't actually taken flight as such - you know, being a flightless bird and all. It is sitting in a hang-glider, enjoying the view of the world below. Its legs swing casually back and forth, as its bottom perches in a comfortable, customised seat. The Dodo looks around brightly and beakily, enjoying as always the fresh air that fluffs through its feathers.

There are very few instruments on the glider. It is one of the ironies of the Dodo's life that, although it has wings unhelpful for flying (but don't call them useless! At least, not in the Dodo's hearing. For your information, they are perfect for helping the Dodo stay cool in hot, tropical climes), the Dodo has an excellent head for heights, an unerring sense of direction and can read shifts in wind and weather patterns effortlessly.

The sun above sends the triangular shadow of the glider skimming across the landscape of mauve mountains, olive-green canopies, and square fields in yellow and green. Some of the squares are irregularly dotted with black, brown, white and grey blobs - cattle and sheep mostly, but from the glider, it looks as though someone has flicked a couple of paintbrushes onto the world below.

The Dodo glances down briefly and then looks down again, properly, its beak curving into a grin. Below, two black ovals in a sea of gold are staring up at the glider with distinct concentration. As the glider passes over, the black ovals start running; they keep up with the glider effortlessly.

The Dodo waves happily to its fellow flightless bretheren, the emus, below.

The emus race along with the glider.

'Why don't you come down here and do some travelling the old-fashioned way?' One of them calls out in cheeky challenge.

'Only if you promise to join me for a joy ride!' The Dodo replies cheerfully, knowing the emus have no head for heights.

'Come on! Just a little run! A jog! We'll slow down for you, we promise!' The other emu joins in, its tone so falsely innocent, it couldn't fool the most naive of fledgeling birds.

Running is not one of the Dodo's strengths - obviously. Everyone knows it, just as everyone knows that emus' ideas of walking is faster than most creatures' ideas of running.

'Join me for an itsy-bitsy little flight first!' The Dodo calls down. 'We'll all fit, no problems!'

They only have time to briefly cackle at each other before the gold field folds abruptly into olive-green trees. The emus each execute graceful u-turns, nodding their heads to the Dodo's raised wing in farewell, before they head back through the gold at the same admirable high speed.

The Dodo does have a small parachute satchel strapped to its back, which it has never yet had to use. The satchel is barely noticeable. The Dodo's scarf, today in a jaunty shade of strawberrry rose, flutters in the wind and draws the eye first. If you look closely, you might notice the silver bangle around ankle that occasionally glints in the sun. If you look really closely, you might be able to see the light, delicate etching into the silver in a swirling pattern of flowers, leaves and scrolls.

The Dodo is quite at home on the hang-glider, its preferred form of travel. Another grin creases its face as it thinks about some of its adventrues across different times and places.

Who said that a flightless bird from a small island couldn't see the world?

1 comment:

Nayantara Pothen said...

Love this - so evocative. :)