The Bird’s Cage
“Look at all the birds in their cages”, my uncle said to me one day, while pointing to a flock of birds in the sky above us.
“Those Birds are free, uncle.”, I said.
“No. Tomorrow I will show you what I mean.”
The next day my uncle had set up a trap for them, a metal cage baited to attract one of the birds into it. He and I stood off a ways and when one of the birds flew into the cage to retrieve the bait, my uncle sprang the trap. The animal was startled at first and darted around the enclosure trying to find a way out, but the cage door was now closed.
“Now do you see that he is caged?”, my uncle asked.
“Yes”, I responded. “NOW he is trapped.”
He was always trapped. Tomorrow you will see.”
On the third day, my uncle opened the cage door to let the bird fly. As it flapped away, my uncle asked, “Now, is the bird free?”
“Yes.”, I responded.
“Because I opened the cage door?”, he continued.
“Yes.”, I answered again.
My uncle flipped the cage door closed again while looking in the direction the bird flew, saying.” Now he is caged again.”‘
“No.”, I laughed.
My uncle picked up a bug and placed it within the confines of the cage. “Is this bug free or is it caged?”, he questioned.
“Well, it’s both.”, I said and my uncle smiled and shook his head. “It is in the cage, so that kind of makes it caged, but it can get out so it is free.”
“This cage only holds a bird. A bear could tear the cage open. A bug or a mouse could slip between the bars. So what is really trapping the bird here, Natsulani? What is the nature of its freedom and its confinement.”