The Liberation of the Little Bird

December 17, 2007
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Home alone on a warm Sunday afternoon, I sat enjoying the peaceful solitude and pretending that my homework did not exist. The silence was not lasting, however, and was soon broken by my dogs’ frantic barking. My ears were filled with the sound of Lana’s rough bay and Holly’s shrill yap. Annoyed but slightly apprehensive, I went downstairs to see what all the fuss was about, hoping I wouldn’t have to grab a frying pan to defend myself. I saw my two dogs, puffs of black and white, staring intently at the front window. As I got closer, I could hear the frenzied fluttering of wings beating against the wooden shutters. The dogs were shaking with excitement, and in my eyes they were no longer my cute, little dogs but dangerous, feral things. I pried them away from the window and placed them in their crate, closing the door with finality.

I pulled the front door open, letting in the fresh air and providing a means of escape for the little bird. With the utmost care, I tiptoed to the window. The flapping had stopped, and I cautiously opened the white, wooden shutters. The bird was there, but he didn’t fly away like I thought he would. He stood perched on the windowsill, his trembling, brown body and black, beady eyes betraying the fear he had felt before. The window behind him was a picture of the outside world where he belonged, and I was certain I’d help him return. I inched toward him, thinking that my outstretched hand would scare him away. Instead he remained, calm and watchful but no longer afraid. Inch by inch I moved toward him until I was only a breath away from his fine feathers. There was a moment’s hesitation, and I wondered if he’d let me touch him. But then with no warning he took off and landed in the patch of light on the wooden floor of the entryway. I watched as he hopped towards the open door with much less urgency than I thought he should. Then he was gone, and I stood rooted to the ground, hardly believing what had just happened.

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