“Birds have wings; they’re free; they can fly where they want when they want. They have the kind of mobility many people envy.” -Roger Tory Peterson
There are days – admittedly more than there should be – where I’m sure I’d rather be a bird.
A bird’s song is beautiful. And as I listen more and more, I hear it for what it really is: music. They’re happy songs, the ones I hear as I sit on my back porch smoking and wondering what winged life would be like. They’re never sad. Never.
And so, I think I’d rather be a bird, singing beautiful music that falls on appreciative ears. I’d rather be a bird whose default is happiness.
A bird has few worries. Sleeping, eating, and not being eaten. A bird’s days are spent finding seeds from little houses hanging from the branches of backyard trees, finding wholes in the very same trees to sleep in, and flying above potential threats to life. That doesn’t seem so bad. Not too hard.
Above all else, it’s simple. A bird has few needs and few ways to meet them. A bird doesn’t ask itself where it will be in five years. A bird doesn’t regret where it was five years ago. A bird doesn’t feel love’s holes in its chest. A bird doesn’t concern itself with holding expectations. Simplicity.
Maybe I don’t give the bird enough credit. Maybe it’s not as simple as I make it out to be. Maybe there are more predators than I know, and only enough bird feeders to satisfy the fortunate. It could be difficult. It could be complicated. Maybe the bird sits on its perch and thinks to itself, “Life would be easier as a human. It seems so simple.” I’ll never know.
But it doesn’t matter.
Simplicity aside, there is one thing the bird has that would make it all worth it. There is one thing the bird has that I could only wish for.
Wings to fly to a different place. Wings to fly to a better place. Wings to fly away.
And so, it’s with this that I think I might rather be a bird. With wings, I could leave it all behind. I could go anywhere I want. I could shrug my bird shoulders, chalk it up to misfortune, and fly away. I could find a fresh start by floating over it all. I could move on and look ahead to more comfortable shelter and more plentiful food.
Wings bring a freedom so vast that nothing else could possibly matter. Everything would seem small in comparison. Flying above it all, higher and higher, fading it out. I could breathe and live and know that no matter what happens, there’s always somewhere I can go.
There are days – admittedly more than there should be – where I’m sure I’d rather be a bird. That seems a bit silly, doesn’t it? Maybe I’m a fool, an idiot. Maybe I’m weird.
I suppose that doesn’t matter either.
If only to be a bird, maybe for a day. Maybe for a day, to erase it all. To feel what it’s like to escape. To feel what it’s like to free fall, only to fly higher next time.
If only to be a bird, maybe for a day. Maybe for a day, to make life go away.