Thursday, April 05, 2012

free flying

There’s something about being in nature, and I don’t just mean outside at the park. Although that’s enjoyable as well. I mean completely away from the city and void of any distraction. You and the solitude and nothing else. Not even other people. It’s something incredible. I dare to say amazing. But not in the way everyone exhausts the word to describe every cookie ever baked or every cupcake ever frosted. Not that kind of amazing. Truly amazing. As in to astonish greatly. Sure, I love cookies and cupcakes as much as the next person, but I wouldn’t go as far to say they astonish me.

Nature, on the other hand. Now that’s a different story. Not just nature, but all that lives and dwells within. Every creature great and small. To think that they were each created by the literal (another word I don’t use lightly. Have you heard how I feel about that word?) hand of a Divine being.

I don’t have too many passions. There are a lot of things that I’m interested in and plenty of things that I use my time to participate in. But I don’t have one great passion. I suppose one day that might change. You know, when I have a family and all. I guess it’s because I’m kind of an easy going person and fairly neutral. Not that easy going people can’t have passions. I don’t tend to take sides, rather I look for the truth on both. Or if you take a side it means you aren’t easy going. I think I simply lack whatever emotion is connected to true a single passion. I don’t think my words adequately describe what I’m thinking, but at least I know what I’m trying to say.

However, one thing I find myself particularly drawn to lately and perhaps even passionate about are birds. They’re incredible. At times I find myself wishing I possessed their capabilities. The ability to fly. I love watching that moment when a bird is about to take flight. They ruffle their feathers, as if mentally preparing themselves for each flight. Telling themselves “I am capable and I am strong. I can do this.” Upon completion, they push down to gain momentum and then soar away. In an instant. In one swift and beautiful movement. I love that moment when their feet press down and then almost simultaneously lift off the ground. They quickly move from one phase to the next. Trusting their instinct all the while.

Or to sing a happy song. There’s nothing quite like a calm and quiet morning. Accompanied by the comforting melody of a sweet songbird. It’s as if they are welcoming all the potential of a brand new day. Anxiously awaiting new opportunities that lie in store.

I love Maya Angelou’s poem “I know why the caged bird sings” and how closely it relates to human existence. The caged bird is fully aware of their capabilities yet outside forces prohibit them. Outside forces that are outside of their control that ground them. While the caged bird is grounded, they are forced to watch their peers around them. Fluttering by freely without a care in the world. Perhaps taking advantage of the capabilities and freedom they possess.

How unlike them are we? I venture to say not very. I know in my life I have found myself on both sides. Maybe even at the same time. I let outside forces get me down.

The part that touches me the most is the very end.
Her words are beautifully written that paint such a clear picture.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Maya Angelou

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams. I can't even imagine being in that position. To look down at the headstone marked with “Find joy. Be happy. Start an eternal family.” would be a nightmare in every sense of the word. All my greatest hopes are dead. Never to come to pass. Never to spring forth and have life.

His wings are clipped. Void of all potential. Meanwhile suffering with the vision of what could have been.

For the caged bird sings of freedom. Their greatest hope is to rid themselves of all things grounding. Whether self imposed or not. To be free and fly above the influence.

Oh. And if Harry Potter were real and I was a wizard, I totally hope my patronus would be a bird.

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