Free Bird?

imagesI decided to open the bird-cage and let my two yellow parakeets fly freely around the room. After spending so much time confined in their cage I thought this would be a delectable treat. I did not want to help them out- but rather gave them the autonomy to come out by their own volition. As the long time, faithful and concerned owner of these two birds- I felt as if I fulfilled my duty by opening the cage door. The rest was up to them.

After opening the door to the bird-cage, I sat back down in my comfortable chair and continued to climb the steep hill of the book I was reading. I had just read the lines, “When I see I am nothing that is wisdom. When I see I am everything that is love. My life is a movement between these two-” when one of my birds began making a clanging sound in the cage. He was yanking the lever used to open and lock the cage, in an up and down motion with his beak (he normally did this when the cage door was locked in what I assumed was an attempt to open the door and fly free). I yelled out,”the cage is already open Dali (the bird’s name) and there is no need for such obnoxious behavior. Can’t you see that you can fly free!!”

I continued to read and occasionally looked up from my book to see if the birds were making their way out of the cage. They were not. Instead, they sat on one of the synthetic branches and in a dumbfounded state they stared out into the big wide open space as if they were looking into a black hole. “There is nothing to be afraid of!!” I yelled out a little frustrated at their resistance. Neither of my birds quite new what to do with this option to fly free- so they sat there, made some chirping sounds, poked at one another and refused to spread their wings.

I could see that the birds were curious about flying free but overwhelmed by the fact that they were going to have to do it on their own. No human finger to shuttle them out of the door. After a few hours of giving them the potential to be free- frustrated, I got up from my chair and shut the bird-cage door. I must admit that I said “stupid birds,” as I locked the cage. It was then that I wondered how often I had refused to fly out of my cage when the door was left wide open? The thought pestered me. “How many times had I been presented with an opportunity to love, to dance, to travel, to sing, to work, to let go, to grow- but was too afraid to flap my wings and fly?” I said out loud. How often am I more comfortable sitting in a chair with a book than I am stepping out my front door and trying to grab a hold of the sun?

Determined to finish the book I was reading by the end of the night I sat back down and buried my thoughts beneath someone else’s words. I had the house all to myself- minus the two birds and a whining black cat. My interest in breaking for dinner was minimal, so I ignored the biological alarm clock that was sounding off in the depths of my stomach. As I climbed my way towards the book’s ending- I kept glancing out the corner of my eyes at the birds who seemed happy in their cage. They were cleaning one another, eating and playing what looked like a game of bird tag. “Two dumb birds as happy as can be, locked away in their safe cage,” I thought to myself and then I continued to climb.


  1. Maybe the birds aren’t so dumb after all. There are a lot of dangers in the wide world for a feathered beasty and exercise is highly overrated. This is a great piece, short and snappy and one of my favourites I think.

  2. Trying to grab hold of the sun.

    Randall this was just a fantastic story and before you said, how it reminded you of how many times you gave up opportunities to sit and not go out the open door, you had drawn that so well that I was thinking the exact same thought before I got to your thought.

    I sat back down and buried my thoughts beneath someone else’s words.

    Boy am I guilty as charged.

    Quite the little wake-up call. Although I know with my apathy I will still be sitting here in an hour.

    Wonderful Randall. Thank you.

    Love Renee xoxo

  3. Thank you for these comments!! And yes, I do agree- exercise is overrated, the world is a dangerous place to fly around in so maybe we are all not so dumb after all for staying put in our comfortable cages.

  4. Most cages pose an challenge to their occupants, and a question to their advocates, the latter being, “How many cages are in a cage?” I swear, Randall, I can’t tell these days whether I’ve gone za-zen on my handcrafted perch and found the secret of life, or escaped the frying pan by way of fire, if you see what I mean.

    An awesome piece, Sir. Really very well done.

  5. Perfectly phrased. I am going to have to write this comment down for posterities sake. I am right here with you. If I may, I like to think that possibly we are sitting in silent, mindful, “za-zen” like repose upon our “handcrafted perch” (all though there is always room for improvement in our cages) and thoughtfully searching for an authentic, meaningful way to be in the frying pan without getting burned?

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