Esa Discovers Contentment
Esa galloped through her meadow and over the hill. She felt happy as she feasted
on the plush grasses. A big black bird flew near, circled her head, then landed in front
of her. \"Hi there, my name is Kellan. What’s yours?\" he asked.
\"My name is Esa,\" she said with a flip of her thick tail, \"and I live in this gorgeous
meadow. Where do you live, Kellan?\"
\"Anywhere I choose, whenever I want!\" he replied.
Surprised, Esa asked, \"No place to call your own? No place to go home to?\"
\"Oh me, oh my, oh no, no, no!\" he shrilled. \"What kind of life would that be? To
always have to go home? To not be free to go when and where you please? How
terrible! Don\'t you have wings to fly wherever you\'d like?\" Kellan asked, looking all over
Esa searching for her wings.
\"Why, no! I\'m a pony, and ponies don\'t have wings!\" Esa neighed.
\"How terribly awful,\" taunted Kellan. “I really feel sorry for you. You poor, poor
thing. There\'s a whole big world out there just waiting to be seen and explored. There
are deserts with prickly cactuses, and oceans with big whales shooting water out the
tops of their heads. There are jungles with berries as big as plums and wild lions and
tigers. There\'s the icy Arctic region where my penguin cousins live. And the high air
streams to glide on. Poor Esa. How can you stand to live here, knowing what you\'re
\"Here in the hills and meadows, Kellan, is everything I need. There\'s lots of green
grass to eat, and over there is an apple tree which has really good apples every year.\"
\"Grass and apples, grass and apples....,\" mocked Kellan. \"How can you bear it?
Don\'t you know that there are thousands of other good things to eat throughout the
world? Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Boring, boring, boring. I think you live the dullest life of anyone
I\'ve ever met. How sad. What a shame. Tsk! Tsk!\" And Kellan flew off, shaking his
head in dismay over the way the little pony lived.
Esa stood all alone in the meadow, unmoving, her tummy feeling sick. She looked
around her. The grass didn\'t seem so green anymore and it would be months before
the apples were ripe. And the sun was just too hot today!
\"If only I had wings,\" she complained to herself, \"then I could fly up and away from
here, try all kinds of new things, and see the sights Kellan talked about. Oh, poor me.
What a dreadful, dreary life I have!\" she moaned as she plodded along with her head
Esa barely noticed as a big bird landed in front of her. \"Good day, fine, pretty pony.
My name is Gerschwin.\" Now Gerschwin was a wise old owl. \"It appears to me that
you\'re a bit saddened this gorgeous, lovely day. Might that be so?\"
\"I\'m afraid so, Gerschwin. My name is Esa and I\'m just a pony. Just a pony who
lives in this dull place with nothing to see or do. I wish I had wings so I could fly. I wish
I could be a bird. I wish...
I wish,\" and she began to cry. Sobbing, she explained to Gerschwin all the wonderful
things Kellan had described to her. “I’m missing out on a lot of wonderful things
because I’m just a pony and have to live here in the meadow.”
Gerschwin thoughtfully studied Esa for a while, then gently questioned, \"Did Kellan
tell you that when he\'s flying over the desert there\'s no water to drink? He gets mighty
thirsty and weak, Esa, and the sun nearly cooks him! Also, my dear, while traveling
over that great expanse called the ocean, he gets exhausted with no place to land his
weary body. He must fly and fly until he comes to solid earth once more.”
Gershwin caught Esa’s interest and she perked her ears up higher. “I’m learning so
much,” she thought, “first from Kellan and now Gershwin. She stepped closer to the
\"Esa, did Kellan tell you that if you\'re in the jungle when the monsoons come, you
can find no relief from the rain? It continues for many days. And when it\'s not raining,
he must be very careful, for there are wild animals which would enjoy eating him for
their dinner! And where the penguins live it’s extremely cold. Did you know that if
Kellan stayed there for very long he would be frozen stiff? He can only visit his penguin
cousins for a few minutes at most. And there isn\'t much there that Kellan could eat. No
bugs, no berries, nothing.”
Esa pondered these hard times Kellan must suffer. Maybe she didn’t have it so bad at
all, here in the meadow.
\"Now, for the high air streams,” Gershwin continued, “ yes, they can be a joy to glide
upon, but Kellan must always be careful. He might get a broken wing or lose feathers
by trying to go against the winds. Sometimes they are much too strong and become
not a joy, but a struggle for his very life!
\"Esa, you have believed Kellan\'s boastings as truth, but I hope that now you can see
that he can\'t always go and do as he pleases. Even here in the hills and meadows, he
must always be watching out for hungry cats. And in the winter, when the snow comes,
there\'s not much here for him to eat. He has no choice but to go elsewhere, looking for
\"Now, Esa, I want you to look all around you. Do you always have good water to
\"Yes,\" said Esa, getting excited, \"there in the shaded lake.\"
\"What do you do when you get tired, my dear?\" asked Gerschwin. \"Must you
continue on and on?\"
\"Oh, no,\" voiced Esa, \"I can lie down in this thick, soft grass and rest anytime I
\"Ah, yes,\" said the wise owl, \"and what if it were to rain for days and days, or snow
and be extremely cold?\"
\"I have a warm, dry barn to go to!\"
\"Esa, do you have to worry about other animals wanting to catch you and eat you for
\"No, Gerschwin,\" Esa said with a chuckle, \"I\'m bigger than most animals around
\"Do the windy air streams ever knock you over or turn you upside down, Esa? Blow
you around and around until you\'re dizzy?\" questioned Gerschwin.
With a full belly laugh, Esa responded, \"No, oh my no! I\'m much too heavy for that!\"
\"Now my dear,\" said the owl, \"what is your favorite food?\"
Excitedly, Esa shouted, \"Green grass and apples!\"
\"Oh, thank you, Gerschwin,\" Esa said, with a great, loud whinny, as she began to
fully understand. \"Thank you for helping me see I am happy right where I am. I don\'t
want wings and I don\'t want to see the sights around the world. Look! I have food,
water, a warm barn, and the hills and valleys to run in with my strong legs. Everything I
need! Look at me, Gerschwin, I am a fine, pretty pony. I like me just the way I am!\"
And with that Esa took off running in her meadows, kicking up her heels, glad to be right
where she was.
\"I like you just the way you are too, fine, pretty pony,\" Gerschwin called after her.
Then the wise old owl flew to the nearby apple tree and settled in for a long afternoon
Cassie Memmer © March 1987
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