My dearest feathered friends,

The breeze tickles my face as I’m sure it does yours, too. The soft down that once covered you from head to tail now forms nothing more than a mane around your neck, a sign of months gone by and many more still to come.

My, you have grown so much. Do you smell the salt on the air as I do? Do you know the open sea beckons you? The glorious white of the feathers on your chest will soon reflect the turquoise glow of the lagoon, and then of the ocean itself.

But you know that.

I see the way that stretching your wings has become more of a desire to feel the air rush beneath them, to see how far they will take you. If only they would let you! Not quite.

But soon.

The long, brown feathers that adorn your steadily growing wings are beginning to flicker. Soon they will kiss the crests of waves and be carried by the gentle lifting and falling of the wind. This speck we both live upon is where you grew from an egg into the magnificent creature you are now. It will always be home.

But there‘s another story to be told and one that is only known when the last breath leaves your chest and that twinkle in your eye has faded to black. Nobody sees as the silence slowly picks its way through the crowd, when the heat grips your throat and the rain lashes your eyes.

You are plagued by a human curse.

If only you knew that plastic is the undying gift that was never meant to be given to such wild and vibrant souls as yours; a gift we cannot take back as much as my heart aches that we could.

But you‘re a species stronger and more determined than I have ever known; the ocean‘s guardian. Those deep, coffee coloured eyes know its rise and fall like no other – an air of magic in every inquisitive expression. Do not fear the next steps, my friend, as clumsy as they may be on your wide and webbed feet because they won’t be taken alone.

I am here.

We are here. Watching as you tackle your first wobbly flight across the sea. If I could swim the Pacific and follow you, I would. But I can’t. This is your mission and instead, I will tell your story, because there’s no better story to be told.

My dearest feathered friends, may the wind carry you far, may your journey be flush with delight and adventure, and may we meet again soon.

Kia kaha, Charlie