As a child, I see her, desperate for the loving attentions of her parents. She can feel their spiky walls, see their moats and towers, yet cannot understand them.
She grows outside those walls ‘with-out their love’ whilst her parents remain secluded, safe within the walls they built around themselves.
It is clear that they are prisoners and she is the proverbial Knight in Shining Armour; trying everything to reach them, to rescue them and free them from their misery.
Yet, because she is but small and insignificant, without a teacher or protector she has no idea exactly how to go about rescuing them.
Her drive to rescue and to free is strong.
Her desire to help and uplift is powerful.
Her awareness of her limitations – for they often told her “We know more than you ever will” and “One day you will understand” – is strong and it pains her deeply, leaving scars of frailty upon her heart and soul; invisible scars that no-one else can see.
She turns her gaze inward in her search for answers, for enlightenment and understanding, and there she discovers two birds, both beautiful beyond compare, one caged and one flying free.
The caged bird, she notices, is well fed, with ample fresh water, all the perches and roosts re and she receives so much love and attention for her beauty; her song, her ability to coo and flutter on demand, yet the Free Bird is hardly noticed as it soars so high above the heads of those who so value a bird in a gilded cage.
The free bird flies further and further away, almost out of sight, and the child slowly forgets that this free bird is a vital and most magical part of her.
She remembers only the occasional adoration of the caged bird, feels only its full plump well-fed belly, and recalls the way it was cared for and adored.
Often she was reminded ‘you are fed, you are clothed, you are not beaten, you should be grateful, and on these scraps of affection she survived, the whole time longing for…something…she could never quite articulate, never quite grasp for. Something that seemed always to be just out of reach.
Now, as an adult, grown out of the need to persist in overcoming others’ walls, she sees the cage she has gilded for herself, the cage of the well fed bird that never realised it could fly.
Yet today the cage door is open. Today she is willing to leave the security of that safe place and is slowly opening her heart to that other bird. The one I spy flying above me so often; the cawing black rook, the circling buzzard on lazy wings; the fabulous Red Kite with a tail as forked as her tongue, and the Immense Eagle she has grown to be. Who hunts and feeds herself; who has deadly talons and a beak to fear, which could rip flesh from bone, yet has eyes so bright they rival the sun and remind her of her timeless life; her soul life, her true life.
Now her world is not that of a child desperate to overcome the walls in order to find a scrap of loving nourishment. No longer is she The Caged Bird singing for the pleasure of others and for the happiness of her captor/carers.
Today she is the Soaring Eagle whose full mission is to show herself to all other Caged Birds and invite them to turn around and see the cage door is now open, and to fly high as an invitation to all teeny, tiny, caged birds to come and join her.
To them she appears as a Dove, as a dream, for to them she is no threat. To them she shows no talons only the tender feet of her loving heart and the willingness to unlatch all caged doors.
Her song still sweet, her feathers bright, and her flight remains one of pure joy.
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