My shapeshifting heron, Tahoma, is enjoying his human transformation. I could (and have) filled notebooks with the joy he finds in each new experience. However, when I try to coax him to move the story line forward, he isn’t ready.
When I write, I usually have the beginning hook and the ending scene in mind. Then I follow the trail of bread crumbs as my characters work through the maze of their storyline to ‘the end’.
Tahoma’s final scene in this story is a choice. Does he want to live his life as a human or return to the feathery adventures of a heron on the Black River? He will meet mentors and have thrilling adventures to help him make this choice and lead him to his conclusion. At the moment, he still has mangos and smoked salmon to taste (and chew), laughter to experience (have you seen a bird laugh?), and he is a teen boy now so inevitably he will want to drive a car as well.
Amazingly, Tahoma hasn’t looked back. He hasn’t questioned the transformation, or climbed the cottonwood to get back into his nest. He hasn’t blamed or judged anything. He lives in the moment, just as a heron would.
I find it intriguing how an imaginary character that lives so vividly in my imagination has so much to teach me about life.
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“I’d like to live like a river flows, surprised by its own unfolding.” John O’Donohue
~ pondering Tahoma’s human journey
Tahoma and I have only been friends for a few weeks now; we are still in the romance stage of our relationship. At the moment, I’m interested in every little thing he does. I know as I write his story there will be conflict and dark moments that define good literature, but for now, I’m happy in the romance stage.
He began his life in the canopy of cottonwoods over a river. He had a big brother that bullied him and tried to teach him his rank in the nest. Eagles were always a threat but he knew that on instinct. He was majestic and graceful and could literally soar through the air.
Life in the canopy
Being human, however, is something new to him.
He is still light and agile on his feet, but often forgets he is anchored in a human body. He stumbles as he adjusts to this new existence. His fight or FLIGHT reaction will be tested.
Teeth! Now there is a challenge. No one human was born with teeth and had to learn to speak and chew to thrive in the world immediately, so he may bite his tongue often in the beginning. Chewing his food will be new.
These are the physical adjustments to a human body my little Tahoma will be living with. What about the cognitive and emotional adjustments? Birds and other animals live in the moment. They don’t fret over the past or plot a retirement plan. I’m very curious to see if this human issue will infect his thinking.
Then there is the teen issue. Fasten your seatbelts….
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