I Believe In Homing Pigeons

Susan - Stillwater, Minnesota
Entered on October 30, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: community, place

I believe in homing pigeons. Flying incredible distances only to make their way home. Persistent and exact in their mission.

I believe there is a homing pigeon in every human soul. Flying low, flying fast, stopping to rest, forging through turbulence, gliding through thin air, using the draft of those before them to gain speed and save strength, surviving the trip. Landing at home. Their life’s journey. Finding themselves where they started.

When I was young I was a Camp Fire Girl. Our flock was together from the time we were Bluebirds in first grade until we left home. We could fly all over the neighborhood, fly to friends’ houses, fly to the local drugstore for chocolate sodas, fly into the future together.

We screamed joyously when the boys chased us and flew away from houses after hanging handmade May baskets filled with violets and popcorn on their door knobs. Not flying too fast, so we might get the kiss that was our reward if they caught us, or running as fast as we could if their kiss was our most dreaded moment and the basket was left on a dare.

Our flock flew to camp together every year. Until they banned us. Too loud, scaring the other campers, taking all the cookies from the Main Hall while the rest of the camp raised the flag. All the accusations were true. We had outgrown the camp. The camp that we waited all year to visit. Every year.

We decided as a group when to have our first kiss. We held séances and snuck out at night to teepee the football players’ houses. We shared our first cigarette and our first beer.

We lost one of the flock when she was 15 and we and mourned her together as angels took her under their wing. We sent children off to war hoping that very same day that they would fly home. We drove friends home from chemotherapy, while they flew high on pain killers.

Now we fly home once every five years from all over the country to start up where we left off. We have built a nest that we can all return to. It is familiar and comfortable. It is home. It is us, the same as we were in 1st grade.

I last flew away from home when I was 24. Sure that I was going to live an exciting life: travel abroad, go to the theatre, see art by the Masters, meet interesting people. Have an experience all my own. Like no one else’s. And I did. I have no regrets. I only have the never ending pull to fly home. I was a bluebird and I believe in homing pigeons.