Flying like a Caged Bird

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By: Kyle Jacobson

     “Peter come here, yeah? Ever look at these mountains?” Peter fluts over to George, taking care to step on some scattered planks.

     “Right, right, see ‘em every day.”

     “So sad, so sad yeah?” Woven wires leave diamond shaped frames through which the two mourn the mountains.

     “Those mountains been trapped far as I can remember. Never gonna get ‘em out their cage.”

     “You two up already?”

     “Look, it’s Steve, yeah, Steve’s up Peter!” George closes his eyes and spins about until he faces the mountains once more.

     “Right, right, was wondering when you planned on joinin’ us.”

     “Oh, I’m not joining you. Not today.”

     “Not joining us? He says he’s not joinin’ us, yeah?”

     “Right, what? You don’t care about these mountains? They’s trapped, they is, and you ain’t got the sympathy to feel for them?”

     Pointed to sharps, white-capped and purple footed, the mountains stand tall amidst the clouds. Around them trees blow, above them clouds flow, but never do the mountains adjust to the world about them. They know they belong, and only need grow to remind the world of ideas purposely forgotten. Everything around the mountains changes to the mountains, and never the other way around. Yet they are trapped. A cage encompasses their majesty in efforts to take what it cannot have. For a cage is only as valuable as what it holds, and is otherwise empty. So it is the mountains, rich and thick, holding prowess, and the cage holding the mountains. By proxy, the cage should hold the mountain’s prowess, but it will not lest the mountains fall for the trick and give that which is its own.

     “I care deeply for the mountains, Peter. You two see them as sacred and untouchable, but today I will free the mountains.”

     “Ho ho, ah ha, ho, oh now you’ve gone and spliced your feathers Steve, yeah? How can you free the mountains? They’re way too big for any bird to be savin’, yeah. Hoho oh ho.” George’s laugh does little to break Peter’s annoyance in Steve’s mission. Their lives have been spent grieving the loss of something great. What Steve’s thinking borderlines heresy.

     “Look you two, I’m sick of watching the world around us suffer as we sit and hope for the best. I’ve seen what happens when we do nothing, and it’s expectedly nothing. I’m not asking for your help, so just let me do what I can. Who knows, I might even succeed.”

     George throws Steve’s back against the wall of the cage. “Now see here, right, right. There is no room for that talkin’ and that thinkin’. We’ve done it this way, and I can’t have you goin’ off and takin’ matters into your own wings. Your actions will affect the lot of us, right, right.” George releases Steve, who slides to the ground and stands aside with eyes wide.

     “It were my granddad, right, who was the first to see the mountain trapped. Such a symbol it has become. No matter the greatness, or power of the individual, everything can be taken away. You cannot free the mountain, right. All you can do is mourn, and hope that one day the mountain will break free.”

     “Yeah, it’s Steve, look, Steve’s gone!”

     “What is it George, can’t you see I’m-“

     “Steve’s flyin’ away, he’s trapped in the cage with the mountain.”

     “Right, what is this?”

     Flying towards the mountains, Steve opens his wings to the wind and lets himself rise higher than thought possible only moments before.

     “Right, what? Now come back here.”

     “Steve, come back yeah?”

     If only George and Peter would look up or to their sides they would see that it was never the mountains that were caged. All this time, only looking to the mountains, they’d never stopped to think the world could be otherwise. If they would turn around completely, they would see the door to their cage had been left open, and all they need do is walk out. The cage had long since taken that which is inherent to the birds, as the mountains have yearned the birds to soar in the clouds. Bound to their perspectives, Peter and George belong to the cage, lest they find a moment to break the cage’s inherent nothingness, which they have taken to be their own.

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