How a parrot and a Tunisian cage taught me to fly

7 Jul

I love birdcages. Probably they are more popular around this time than ever, but I have loved them all my life. When we were kids we had a beautiful white-and-blue cage from Tunisia – like the one above. I learned from this cage that cages were not permanent; that’s how I fell in love with them.

It was decorative. The cage.

Every time we tried to convince our parrot – back then – to consider it home, it managed to use its beak to bend some of the handmade cage wires and get itself out.

It was great fun seeing my parents,  who were usually gloomy and very serious, run around the house while trying to catch the crazy bird. He was very colorful, and he left a good impression on me about birds in general, which I grew to love over the years.

The cage, too, is a staple of my psyche. It’s amazing how we, as children, form  our own imaginative world – our hidden psychological and figurative treasures – from things around us, in ways nobody else seems to notice.

Although I was very little back then, when we had the Tunisian cage,  I actually have a very good memory of it; how could I forget it when its image stayed with me for almost all my life?

Source: wafi.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

The Cage of Freedom

I don’t know how I can explain this, but the cage for me is actually a resemblance of freedom. As a kid, I never saw a caged parrot, I saw a bird succeeding to break free from that cage every single day we had him.

This bird set an example for me.

He taught me an early lesson about hope, that’s why all my life I believed with all of my heart that I could break free from any cage anyone could put me in.

All my life I carried that Tunisian cage with me, with its easy to bend wire frame, and it helped me get out of the worst life scenarios you could ever imagine.

Till this day, I see parrots in a different light than everybody else. I view them with great respect, because one of them was an early mentor of mine, who taught me at the age of 4 that I,  too, can fly.

And I flew.

 

The reason I’m remembering this is that the lady who gave the cage away as a gift to a Queen, yes, a literal Queen, broke my heart today. I had to remember the cage! It was she who gave it away, when  my childhood was still clinging to its white wire skeleton and blue dotted beads. She broke my heart too many times, this woman. She, not once, saw life through my eyes or understood where I came from.

But just so that you would know. I saw the cage again. Back in 2000. I saw it at the Queen’s parlor. I know this sounds unbelievable, but it did happen. I saw it and I said nothing about where it came from.

“That cage used to be mine when I was little,” I could have said.

But I didn’t. I was way too grateful to be in the presence of both, the cage and the Queen.

People who travel through life with a knife in their hand, can never capture a child’s little shining world. They will continue to live through life abruptly, insensitively, and quite selfishly. But they can never ever stop the white wire frame of a Tunisian cage from bending open for a resilient parrot, who will always be free!

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