Under His Wing

Lori McCray
2 min readAug 10, 2022
Nuthatch fledgling I helped find mama

I loved him once. I love him still, though in a different way, like an uncle or a brother; someone older, wiser, more perspicuous than I. I loved him then, but my love was based on need and not reality. Confused and desperate, I was a bird without a mother. Pushed out too early, foreign to flight and lacking in resource, I hopped upon the ground, waiting for someone to rescue me. Young and scared, I was naive about the world.

Not having a mother hampers the development of one’s social skills. Not having a father leaves a girl open to all manner of distortion regarding men, and a healthy relationship, based on what you saw your parents doing or not doing, is as likely as a Toucan in the Arctic.

He was so kind to me. Under his wing I felt protected. Warm, and not so fragile. Under his wing, I didn’t have to use my own, which suited me just fine, tired as I was. I opened my mouth, he plopped the worm in it. He wanted me to fly ~~~ he did. It’s not that he tried to keep me back, hold me down. He rooted for me, in a way my parents couldn’t muster, but I was too interested in safety to experiment with flight. Too unwilling to give up the comfort of his care. I would not venture any unmarked territory without him.

He was my talisman.

His eyes seeing in the dark, he was the owl of my loneliness. I was the fledgling he fell into nurturing. Letting me rest but nudging me toward freedom, he saw a power I could not comprehend, and like any good mother, father, friend, familiar, elder, neighbor, mentor, confidante, he never gave up on his belief that I could fly . . .

LBM 6/20/2001



Lori McCray

Photographer, Poet, Musician, Mother, Mystic, Gardener, friend of wild creatures, swan whisperer. Find me on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wingthing/