There once was a lonely man. One day, during a storm, a beautiful bird came to rest on his window sill. Her plumage was extraordinary, gold and bright, but her wingtips were heavy with the rain. She sought shelter. The bird asked the man if she might rest in his window until the storm passed.
She said, “In exchange for the safety of your house, I’ll sing to you.”
Her lullaby soothed his woes and helped him to sleep as one who is truly loved. The man came to believe he needed the bird to ease his loneliness. She became his reconnection with the living earth that held him.
When the skies had cleared, the bird, being a bird, desired to flutter about the meadows and soar over the mountain peaks. She was searching, not for another window sill, but for all the forgotten beauty in the world. She loved the gnarled broken branches of the old oak trees near his home, the river that brought life to all the animals and the fire of lightning that destroyed everything so that life could begin anew.
She breathed with the change of seasons and reveled in the glory of the stars.
The bird was gone for some time. One day, she returned to visit the man, for she loved him, and she remembered the safety of his window sill.
She found the man distraught and haggard, and he seemed to be aging with his worry. “Bird! Where have you been? You abandoned me and I can’t sleep. Please, bird, stay and sing me a song.”
Her heart was moved and she obliged. While she was singing, the man stroked her feathers and hummed along in happiness. Suddenly, the man caught her. He scooped her up and placed her in a golden cage adorned with jewels and the finest perch, situated in the sunlight of the kitchen.
“What are you doing?” she cried.
“I’m afraid you’ll leave again,” he said. “I’m fearful you’ll get caught in another storm, be injured or find a prettier window to rest in. Please, bird, let me keep you. Sing me to sleep every night and I’ll protect you.”
He praised her daily, fed her the freshest fruit and loved her.
However, after some time, the bird stopped eating, and her feathers began to molt. “Bird! What is wrong with you? I care for you, I tell you how beautiful you are. Here, you are protected. You will never be alone or have to weather another storm in the valley. No one will hunt you or pluck your feathers. Please bird, sing some more! Why are you wilting?”
She replied, “Because I’m a bird, and you put me in a cage.”
*This story is an excerpt from an original article that appeared in Elephant Journal on December 25, 2015 and is original to the author Ann Marie Matthews. It can be accessed here: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/12/the-infatuation-with-falling/