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This Bird Has Flown

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
This Bird Has FlownI wish I had some lovely story to tell you about raising a baby bird; one that had fallen out of its nest. How I’d rescued it, put it in a shoebox with tissue, fed it both night and day for several weeks until it was successfully released back into the wild. Sadly, I don’t have such a tale.In contemplating ‘this bird has flown’, strung together these four words conjure up a wide variety of imagery and meaning. Besides the literal meaning of a bird flying away, there are several other possibilities, the first being a metaphor for someone who has been bound to a place and then bravely strikes out into the unknown to discover a new life leaving the safety of the ‘nest’ behind i.e., a young person off to university. Then there’s the concept of an aeroplane likened to a bird transporting itself to some imagined exotic place. Thoughts trail to Sesame Street’s Big Bird on to flightless penguins and extinct dodo birds. There’s also the imagery of birds vacating caged prisons, finding freedom when the door’s left open, which brings me to my grandmother and her pet canary.Throughout my childhood every summer for three weeks we would spend time with my dad’s family. We would wake up, pile into the big blue Buick station wagon and make an 832-mile trek to upstate New York. Sometimes we would camp overnight, sometimes wake up around 3am and arrive around teatime the very same day.On these special visits to grandma’s house, I would often wake up early and have quiet time with her in her retro, very green Formica 1950s kitchen. She would make a sweet pie for the evening meal, often apple or rhubarb (fresh from the garden). During this time as she cooked, she would let her canary out of the cage. She would remove the cover, open the door and let it flap about the kitchen. In thinking about all this now, my grandma must have either clipped the bird’s wings or kept all the windows shut as her feathered beauty never did make a great escape from Mallery Street’s Alcatraz, not that I know of. However, this was not the case across the pond in England’s capital.Little green ring-necked parakeets thrive in London, over 30,000 of them. How these interlopers came to flourish in London and beyond is debateable. Seemingly the earliest sightings of this type of bird in Britain was in Dulwich in 1893 and Brixton in 1894 (1), perhaps escaped pets. Legend has it several escaped from the set of The African Queen in the mid twentieth century and helped to populate the west part of London with the growing numbers later moving into the warmer central part of the city.Canaries and parakeets are all part of the 200 to 400 billion different types of birds (2) worldwide that take part in a remarkable continuous cycle of egg laying and hatching, with attentive parents feeding hungry mouths leading to life’s adventure in the spreading of wings and flying the nest.
Empty Nest
the empty nest hangs
on the brick wall held
useless in cool shade
mud and sticks – life’s blood
swirling motionless
defies gravity
once a cradling refuge
the vacant nest abandoned
now covered in spider’s web
sticky silky threads suspend
dead fragments trapped
floating time
reaching up I stretch
spreading weary wings
clearing bleary eyes
leaving emptiness
heart filled to the brim
with sun’s golden breath
struggle - launching – push
catching wind to sail
free – released to fly
Thank you for reading, 
Kate đŸ˜Š
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