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I’m cradled in my nest, huddled against my mothers warm body. I have always admired her. She has such presence and is a role model for any seagull. I am warm and content. Suddenly she stands up and flaps her wings as if to take off in flight. A fresh sense of fear clings coldly to my heart. “Flap your wings and come to me,” she coaxes. I stare at her in wild disbelief. I am still so immature. “Don’t look down yet!” she commands. I shut my eyes tight. The next thing I know, I am falling. My body feels as heavy as a stone and my heart has turned to lead. I have been pushed out of my nest! “Flap!” shouts my mother, and my wings as if gaining strength and confidence from her encouraging voice, spread out as if from a long slumber. The force of the wind turns into a soothing, whistling breeze.

My heart empties. I feel weightless and light. My eyelids close and I find my breath. I open my eyes to the most amazing sight.

I am soaring under the light of the guiding sun, looking over the beach. It is mid-summer. The cold blue-green foamy ocean spills onto the golden shore. I see children scrambling, frolicking and squealing in delight. Some rum around with frosty ice creams, licking them greedily. A fresh breeze whips my feathers. I scan the ground again. I see women in bathing suits basking in the sun in an attempt to get the perfect tan. I see pot-bellied men in shorts and t-shirts, minding the braai: preparing mouth watering steaks, spicy sausages and tangy lemon peri peri chicken. I see them squeeze the sauce over their sausages. I hear the splash and whiz of cool-drinks as cans...