I opened the back door to take Vixen out for her last walk of the day when the bird flew right into the house. The walk took precedence so I figured I’d deal with the bird later. When we came back, I tried to corner our unwelcome guest to throw a towel or something on it so I could pick it up and take it outside – a method that has worked in the past. But this little bird was too fast soaring from one end of the house to the other. So, after 20 minutes we called for a truce. I left it in a closed room and we went to sleep. In the morning, I opened the front door, walked into the room where we had last seen each other, and it flew straight out into the morning sunshine. Like some of your entrepreneurial mother birds around your houses, ours has built a nest in the wreath that decorated the back entrance and now that we discovered 4 little eggs in it we are trying not to use that door very much.
Seeing and hearing the birds all around us reminded me of Maya Angelou’s famous poem “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”:
The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.
After 9 weeks of lockdown, sheltering in place, and disruptions at many levels, some people are beginning to describe their experience as being caged and cries for freedom are ringing across the country. The growing desire is to return to the life that was known. But we know that we will have to get used to a “new normal.” Fortunately, we have the freedom to do the right thing.
The apostle Paul reminds the Corinthians: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:17). Following the guidelines that ensure life for many doesn’t have to limit other aspects of life that perhaps we haven’t explored or appreciated in the past. “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for people are slaves to whatever masters them” (2 Peter 2:19). We can feel imprisoned by grief over what has been lost or we can learn to value what endures after tragedy and pain have had their say.
Maya Angelou’s poetry drew from the language of faith and religion and her images of prison and freedom, memory and life, have great relevance today. I leave you with this verse from “Touched by an Angel”:
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.