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Blue Jays

Cages and Doors

By Brittany IvyPublished about a year ago 5 min read
Blue Jays
Photo by Jeremy Hynes on Unsplash

When I was a young girl, around the age of ten, my family owned an old, iron, birdcage. This large and beautiful cage sat in the corner of our patio, in the backyard. I cannot remember now whether it had no door at all or if we just always left it open. But, either way, the bottom of the cage was filled with a variety of seeds and nuts to attract wild birds and other little creatures to it, for them to eat at their leisure. We never closed them in. We only watched from a distance as they helped themselves to as much as they wanted.

As a child, I never thought twice about how odd the whole situation must be to the animals. Because the door was always open, I no longer saw the cage as the object it was built to be. I saw it for how it was being used now. Most of the animals seemed to feel the same way. They would make their way in and out of the cage without having any problems, or anxieties, about it being a cage that they had been dining in the whole time. However, there was one animal who consistently showed to be an exception to this mindset, blue jays. Nearly everytime a blue jay would enter the cage to feed, once it was finished eating and ready to depart, it would become panicked and upset. The poor animals would work themselves up into a frenzy and fly about the cage. Recklessly ramming their bodies into the top, and every other side of the cage, before eventually rediscovering their original point of entry. Which, had been open the whole time. Sometimes, they would even sit on the ledge of the exit, with their tales hanging out into the free world, and still become distraught. Because they could not see the door anymore, they seemed to become convinced that there was no longer way out. This was not true of course. And, eventually, they would rediscover the enterance, and fly back out the same way they entered.

As an adult, I look back on that experience, and I see and feel so much more than I did as young girl. More specifically, I have grown to be curious about the birds motives for entering the cage at all. And, I have most certainly become more empathetic towards the confused creature. Perhaps, because the further I go into my life, the more I feel like one of those sweet blue birds. The world is full of any and everything that one could possibly need, and yet, it it’s so simple. We all need specific resources to survive. But, resources are distributed unevenly throughout space and time. Creating pockets of places where people and animals can go to find all of the things that they need to survive. What happens though, when people take more than they need? They become bored, and they begin seeing others’ fight for survival as amusing and entertaining. They begin building their own cages filled with free resources to attract people to them for their viewing pleasure. Some people go in and out of these cages, working, singing, dancing and entertaining their way into being secure financially. Or, until their bellies are full. But some step in and see it for what it really is. A cage. Built for amusement. A grand illusion built by beings who could choose to do anything with the cage they have created. They could close the door, pick it up and move it, or simply just stop putting resources into at all once others have come to depend on them. The power is in the hands of the cage owner. Did the blue jays know that? Did they see other creatures going in and out and think to themselves, “Oh, wow. What a convenient and easy way to sustain myself. I’ll follow the other animals and try this out myself.”? Only to get inside and immediately feel shock and horror at what others are so seemingly fine with, or possibly even oblivious to. My mother use to call the blue jays dumb. I quite think they may have been the smartest of all the animals who entered our, entertainment, feeding apparatus. There was nothing natural about what was occurring inside of that cage and I think that they sensed that.

In my own life, on a small scale, I feel the blue jays anxieties in how I earn a living and have concerns about where my resources come from. On a larger scale, the anxieties and worries are focused on the ultimate cage creator, the entity some call God. Why am I, and most creatures, hardwired for survival at all costs? And, does that actually leave room for free will? When I was an adolescent, I believed the choices I made were mine to make. That I had free will. Until, I flew into a cage that I could barely see. I missed all the signs that it was a cage because of the way it presented it self to me. I was so hungry and, therefore, too focused on the meal in front of me to wonder about the cost of it. I certainly wasn’t looking for the way out out when I entered. Because, I didn’t know it was a cage yet. By the time I figured it out, I didn’t have any idea which way to turn to find the door that would lead me back out again. But, I knew it was somewhere, open and waiting for me to rediscover it. I just needed to keep moving, and I would eventually find it again.

Instead of finding that door again though. I fell a bit deeper down the blue jay hole, and found something else instead. My feelings of being trapped, and the loss of control over my life, brought on bigger scale questions of, why? Why does anything happen to anyone, animals and humans alike? Why did I ever think I had a choice, or control? Science and physics tell me that I am forever connected to everything. Destined to be created and destroyed, cyclically into infinity. That I am a very small part of someone’s idea of a perfect equation. A code that keeps generating itself like pi. Going on forever and never repeating. But always remaining balanced. I am a piece of a cage that holds all things in, and together. Who’s cage are we living in?And, where is the door out? I don’t know where to begin to look for it. But, I have a few ideas. And, maybe it won’t be me at all who finally finds the way. But, until then, I see you sweet blue jays.


About the Creator

Brittany Ivy

I am a DREAMER! And I hope you are too!

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