Monday, May 5, 2014

Birdsong

Credit: deviantART / night-lioness

Her egg hatches. She sings.

Birdsong is not really song. To the children of the sky, a string of notes is not a melody but an idea. When she sings for the pleasure of it, the elders look at her strangely. They hear speech, yet there is nothing meaningful to be said.

In her years she often sees her reflection in the still of the brook. She looks just like her sisters, from tail to plume. (If you asked her, she would describe her eyes as feline. Glowing. Incisive. Threatening no matter how hard she tries to dull them.)

Her friends sometime listen to her sing. They see the heat the music inspires behind her eyes, even if they cannot feel the warmth of a song's cadence. They listen, fascinated but perplexed, not really hoping to understand the patterns beneath the sounds but curious nonetheless.

Sometimes she reads. She reads of Icarus, who couldn't fly too low or he would sink into the ocean's cold. She reads Wyndham's Day of The Triffids, where in the land of the blind, the one-eyed are hobbled and chained: beasts of burden. She perches with her back to Plato's Cave and wonders, what if other birds knew how to fly without leaving the ground?

She sings. Sometimes, when she flies over a valley at just the right angle and transposes to the right key, she hears an echo.

When she was first learning to fly, the elders warned her of faraway lands where their kind were forced to live in captivity, trapped behind bars tougher than any talon.

Can you imagine, they asked her and her sisters, what it would be like to be trapped like that?, to never be able to spread your wings and fly as high as you can?

She doesn't reply, but she knows cages need neither be tangible nor in one's mind: they are in others' bemusement.


—5 May 2013.