The first known use of the saying, “free as a bird,” was early in the 17th century, not 1967, when the Beatles popularized it in song. Yet, it has likely been one of those little bits of life humans longed for since prehistoric times when they marveled at the feathered creatures bringing beauty to the world.
If the term is new to you and you’ve never marveled at a hummingbird or longed to soar like an eagle, you probably need prayer or medication. Whatever the reality, I was recently reminded there are limitations, drawbacks, and downsides to everything, including the freedom of our feathered friends. Take the cardinals I photographed and shared from our little backyard sanctuary over the last few months.
These two have eaten our birdseed, entertained us, and hidden their nest from me for weeks. I did my best to determine where to see if I could snap some shots of the hatchlings, but this duo was too crafty for me. And then! They showed up with two young ones in tow and never stayed in one place long enough for me to get a family portrait. Still, even when they treated me like some stars treat the paparazzi, I was envious of their freedom and flight.
Then, one afternoon they were cavorting in the back with their spawn, thwarting my efforts to get a picture as usual. It was disappointing and exciting at the same time. The immature ones were chasing around, from feeder to holly, to feeder and tree, having a great time! That is, they were having a great time until a Texas thunderstorm burst onto the scene, and we were all running for cover. Me to my couch to watch a golf tournament and the birds to find someplace to hide from the hail, thunder, and soaking rain. Ah, yes, freedom! Maybe there is a price to pay for freedom.
As if the cardinals had not reminded me strongly enough that freedom has its limits and drawbacks, another of my feathered neighbors got my attention this morning. Several Mississippi Kites and a few hawks are frequenting our world, and one has been showing up regularly across the street.
It sits high on the top of a tree, scouting, and resting before taking off to hunt or just feel the air rushing around its body. On this day, at this time, it was not going anywhere. Another thunderstorm made its way through our little part of Texas, and the little hawk was drenched. As I watched, it regularly opened its wings a bit and spread the feathers. I assume this was an attempt to keep its wings from becoming too soaked and heavy. Whatever the reality, it was apparently not going anywhere until the rain ended.
So, the point to all of this? Well, it’s simple. There is a price for everything. Freedom does not come freely, and in some ways, it may be an illusion. Whatever the reality, be like my little neighbors, enjoy the good times, bear up through the rough times, and soar when you have the chance.
© oneoldcop – 2021