Taking flight

He stands tentative.  Opening his orange beak wider and wider as I walk closer.  He's more skittish than the other shore birds and gulls.  Doesn't like to be close to other people.

He pulls his wings up high and gathers air under them and lifts off.  Just parallel to the ground at first.  Almost as if he might not have it in him to stay aloft or climb higher.

Finally, he starts to make upward progress.  His beak still hangs open in fear of me, as if by talking to me he might scare me further away.  His wings are hinged and the lines go straight, then up  to gather more air, then hinged in two, a 90 degree angle as he swoops it away underneath himself.

Finally, closer to the waves, he catches the updraft.  Here his flight becomes beautiful again, the lines of his wings are poetry in motion and he closes his fearful beak to ride the wind upward, totally free of the fears he felt on the shore.
This series of photos, this interaction with the apparently quite tentative Piping Plover on Kiawah Island, reminded me so much of our decision to take flight to the ocean.  Tentative and fearful, angular, difficult...we gathered the wind with our wings anyway and headed for the updraft over the beach.  Now here we are, and the flight is beautiful and days poetry in motion.  So glad we came!