The best things in life are feathered and free

I’m not sure what freedom means to me. I may be free, technically, but there are signs that seem to indicate otherwise. I recognize them only while trying to plot an escape from drudgery. The hair follicles on my neck stand up. My throat is parched. My knees feel weak. Sweat trickles down the bridge of my nose. It’s a tense situation.

It’s as though a gun is pointed at the back of my head. I can hear its cold metallic mouth breathing. It whispers into my ears, like lovers on their way out, that all resistance is useless. That non-compliance will be dealt with – swiftly, harshly and permanently. To make matters worse, the gun sounds like Werner Herzog.

Freedom is more than a state of mind. It isn’t even in the heart. It’s in the feathers of birds. I realize it whenever I hear the sound of their wings flapping away from me.

Unfortunately, many species of birds are shackled by human interference. Unethical developmental plans continue to torment them. We behave in ways unbecoming of the dominant species. We destroy their homes to build fancy apartments. Kidnap fledglings for profit.

Deny them the freedom to do as they must, to exist with dignity and direction.

Yet, I can’t help but gaze at birds in flight. I feel overwhelmed by how free they seem to be.

And I wonder, what they will think of us if ever they observe the way we lead our lives. The mess we make of the freedom to align development measures with eco-friendly ideas. The eagerness with which we accept technology to carry out personal agendas or support pointless propaganda. We are free to break the Internet anytime. We can fight oppression. Promote indigenous art. All we need to do is come together for a few seconds.  Yet we won’t unless it involves Kim Kardashian’s buttocks.

We are probably the most entitled species on this planet. I doubt if there exists another, on a distant star, with more innocuous First World problems.

We must be the galaxy’s spoiled children. Given that we are ruining everything we lay our hands on, we ought to be the stepchildren locked in a basement. Denied the luxuries. Left with nothing but food, shelter and clothing. Allowed an hour of music once in a week. That too, live jazz only.

Three months later –things should go back to normal. But this time, we must be left with two clear choices. Either plant more trees. Or click on videos of cute kittens.

Based on our cumulative response, the world ought to take a decision.

Eurasian Spoonbill, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

Wipe us out
or let us be
until it’s time to
bury the last one
and throw away
the keys.

(Photographs: Chennai, Vedanthangal, Kodaikanal, Valparai)

35 thoughts on “The best things in life are feathered and free

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  1. ‘Freedom’ in the human sense has distinct conditions and is a human-only construct. Real freedom means sustainable populations of thousands of different species specializing in their areas of uniqueness and even (yes) untimely death. Nature plays no favorites.

    I don’t think humans really want to be free like the bird. It’s a hard existence made into harder by a dominating, resource-sucking species. It would be nice if we would lend our fellow earthlings some reciprocity. But I dream. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Real freedom means sustainable populations of thousands of different species ” – you just said it succinctly in a few words what I ended up writing a rant about. No wonder there is a roooo in Shannonrooooo! (big smile). Great to hear from you after long, dear friend.

      Nature is indiscriminate in her love and torment. As you said – I don’t think we possess the acumen to be as free as birds can be. It will break us. And like Icarus, we may fall!

      Dream on, Shannon. If not for dreamers, the world will be a scarier place.


      1. I told you I was going to be off! But you are one of the few who know how to find me in the off-line world. Feel free to find me anytime, my friend. And cheer up. The world is too beautiful to be down about the trivial. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This entire post says everything that makes me sad about the world and why I feel like I never fit in. I could go on for a long time, but to be honest, I feel trapped by modern society, I see humanity going down a dark road, and while I want to help make it better, I don’t know how so sometimes I’d rather just run away from it all and go live in the woods.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No secrets, Hazel and Christy. Just immersion in all things nature and the humans within my ‘inner circle;’ they get me and don’t rub the downsides of humanity directly in my face. Blogging has become more part of my outer circle, and, hence, takes a back-burner to life.

        There is nothing I can do for ‘out there’ except train the next generation to be more cognizant of others. It’s all I’ve got these days!!!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I am glad it resonated with you, Hazel. Of course I wish he could agree upon nicer and tenderer possibilities.

      I’d like to run away from it all too. Sometimes, I’d like to believe that I can hang in there and make a difference at least in the communities I am a part of. But most of the time, I write about it and contribute nothing. Sigh.


      1. Oh I know there are no secrets I just wish there was, Shannon! But you’ve got it right – having an inner circle and nature time. Those two things are definitely very important. l feel certain you’re doing an outstanding job training the next generation, its an important job not given the credit it deserves by many!

        Christy, I know, me too. But you are making change and contributing even by just writing your blog. Every small change and small thing you can do is important, don’t forget that. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved every word in here Christy and every frame featured…. Loved it all…your thoughts…and the suggestion on stepmotherly treatment too…but jazz??? … A typical human I’m, ‘ve often envied their ability to take off as and when mind fancies…..carry their bodies at ease on air…but well yes… mind does all that and even more ;-)!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mridhula, you’re too kind! (smile)

      I was kidding about jazz, just making fun of how people seem to think of it as a superior art form despite how awfully drunk it sounds sometimes.

      Good point about the mind being aflutter. If only these distractions didn’t exist.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I want to have a long conversation with you on this very theme, birdman. I’ve been meaning to know what you think of a certain things that have been floating in my mind-scape, and most people give me responses that I feel are not honest. I trust that your response will be worth the wait..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Also, I am probably too old to know if in youngster lingo “Nanba” is the local version of “dude”, but just putting it out there that “Nanbi” (or its variants) would be a slightly more accurate option to address mua. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hehehe ungal virrupam, sagodhiri! Referring to you as LG doesn’t feel right, might as well be Onida or something. Also, nanba is youngster lingo? I remember Major Sundarajan slang-dropping it. Doesn’t sound like “dude” to me!


  4. Since “Amma” is taken in our whereabouts, I will have to settle for sagodhiri.
    I heard Major’s voice saying “Nanba” in my head as I read your reply. No, definitely not dude !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Hemangini. Glad you stumbled upon this tiny world of mine. I hope you enjoy your stay. At the least, there will be birdsongs to keep you company!

      I almost typed out “all birds are special” but gosh I’d be lying if I said that.

      Spotted Owlets. Yep, they are my favourites (big smile).


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