05 May 2011

Set Free What Is Meant to Fly

Just before I was about to go home late this afternoon, I left my small office to walk through the receiving lounge just outside it on my way to the washroom to take a pee. Having opened and walked through the door to the lounge, I was startled when a bird flew off from one of the glass shelves of the display rack built right into the wall.

It was a young maya – a Philippine sparrow – that apparently had flown into the lounge when the door was left open. And got stuck inside when one of the security personnel closed the door… It remained closed for most of the day.

God only knows how long the poor maya had been inside the lounge. It had no way out; and if it had been there in the morning, I had not noticed it.

From the glass shelves, the tiny maya flew straight to the glass wall to the south of the lounge; found it could not go through the glass and momentarily perched itself on the edge of the wooden divider. We used to have a pet maya in the house when I was a kid growing up in the Base; so I could tell as I stared at it that this was a young one.

I quietly observed it when it momentarily stayed perched on the divider; and from the looks of it, it was extremely agitated. Its head swivelled this way and that. Its beak swiftly moved open and shut as it panted for breath.

I walked to the door to open it. Scared, the maya flew back towards the glass shelves from where it was earlier resting. But it flew on instead towards the wall; and when it crashed against it, it fell to the floor.

It looked like a very tired bird, indeed. And on the floor, a bird should not be...

I approached it stealthily so that it would not get any more agitated than it already was. I was hoping I could somehow coax it to fly into the by-now open door.

Despite its seeming fatigue, the bird mustered its remaining energy to lift itself up into the air again; albeit, all it could do was to crash into the glass wall all over again. I wondered for how long it had been doing that – I mean, crash into the wall.

As it hit the glass, the maya once again crashed down onto the floor. As I peeked from behind the divider, it saw me and then it flew low towards the space between the glass wall and the open glass door.

Now, it was trapped. For a moment, it made no attempt to fly again. Its head just went round and round as though it could not quite make up its mind what it would do next.

I thought about the situation for a moment and then decided that trying to chase it out the door would only tire it more than it already was; and there was even no guarantee it could find the open door. It was a bird, after all; and if we humans can get ourselves into situations we cannot seem to get out of, how much more a tired poor maya.

So, this time I went after it quickly. I strode swiftly towards where it sat, stooped down and stuck my arm out behind the glass door. The poor bird could only leap from the floor onto the glass wall. As it fell onto the low ledge after crashing once again, my fingers caught up with it.

I thought I could have been gentler; and the poor maya gave out an almighty shriek as I caught it between my fingers. It struggled against my palm, but if I loosened my grip I was afraid it would free itself from my clasp and fly straight back into the lounge that had been its prison.

It was still crying out dolefully as I walked the short distance out the gate of the building, thinking as it probably was that its life was in grave danger.

Instead, I set it free. There was another maya flying by when I opened my palm; and immediately the one in my hand flapped its wings to join the other frolicking bird out into the open and fly away from what had been its prison.

This is just me... But setting that bird free just strangely made me feel so happy...

What God meant to fly must not be allowed to stay fallen on the floor or caged inside a room. It has to be set free.

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