The Little Bird lives in a cage, hanging from a white marble gazebo in a big garden, taken care of by the gardener. She is a plain looking little brown bird. Looking at her, you wouldn’t think there was anything special about her.
But the Little Bird sings a very beautiful, very sad song. Her song is so sad and so beautiful, that people come from far and wide to hear her sing. And when they do, they weep, and feel their grief, and their sadness, and they find that they are able to release it and heal.
But the Little Bird is always sad. She is never able to release her sadness. She lives in her cage and feels trapped by her sadness. She watches the flocks of wild birds who fly past and visit the garden to forage for food, and longs to be like them, but she cannot leave her cage. The wild birds never seem to see her or talk to her.
One day, a very strange bird indeed comes flying into the garden. It’s feathers are all red and orange and yellow like fire, and it’s legs are a bright, electric blue. It is skinny, with a bright red crest on it’s head, and a big fancy tail bursting out behind it. Eventually, it makes its way up to the gazebo, poking around cautiously, and pokes its way up to the Little Bird’s cage. The Little Bird, who has been watching the strange bird with rapt attention from the moment it landed in the garden, is extremely excited that it has come so close! She holds her breath.
The strange bird stands on the railing of the gazebo right where the cage is hanging and pokes its head up to the cage. “Hi there!”
“Oh! Well, hello!” says the Little Bird, startled and surprised. Then her curiosity overrides her surprise, and she asks, “what kind of bird are you?”
“Oh, I’m a Pheonix Chicken” says the strange bird. “I’m a very rare breed… I like to investigate things”
This gives the Little Bird an idea. “Oh! Well I’ve got a big problem that I just can’t solve! Perhaps you can investigate and help me!”
This piques the Pheonix Chicken’s keen attention. “Certainly!” it says.
“Well you see, I’m trapped in this cage. I’m so very sad and tired, because there are these horrible monsters who haunt me at night. The cage protects me from them, and I’m afraid that if I leave, the monsters will attack me! So I stay here in this cage, but the monsters, they always haunt me at night. I sing my sad song, to sooth myself during the day, and people tell me that it’s very beautiful! But I want to be free – to be a wild bird and live with a flock, and never be lonely again!”
“Hmmm, well now. That is an interesting puzzle… I will stay and investigate, and we’ll see what I find out, eh?”
And so the two birds spend the rest of the late afternoon chit-chatting and talking. The gardener brings an evening meal. As the sun moves closer to the horizon and the day turns to evening, the Little Bird is clearly getting more and more agitated. As darkness falls, she huddles closer and closer into her self, in the middle of the cage.
At first, there is nothing happening. But right at midnight, sure enough, some fearsome demons begin to appear. First, there are four dark sentinels which stand around the Little Birds’s cage, looking down at her. At the appearance of these demons, the Little Bird begins to shrink even deeper into herself, huddling and twitching, muttering “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” over and over again. And then another set of monsters begin to appear. Ghostly apparitions which might have once been some kind of bird, they fly around the cage, dive bombing and screeching horrible insults.
“Eeeeeiiiiiiii, you’re a bad little bird, bad, bad, bad! Evil, mean, bad thing, Eeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiii!”
Well, this goes on, and the Pheonix Chicken can see that this is the way that things have been for some time. It watches this scene for a little while, taking in what is happening. And as the Pheonix Chicken watches, it begins to slip into it’s second Sight. The Sight it uses to see underneath, and into, and around the surface of things. The Sight of Seeing the past-present-future of things as a growing tree, branching out across time.
And as the Pheonix Chicken looks with the Sight, it sees more…”Very interesting,” it says to itself.
The night passes, and eventually, the Little Bird finds some rest huddled against the battering winds of her demons. In the morning, she wakes slow and groggy. The gardener brings them breakfast. As they munch, the Little Bird ask eagerly, “What did you see? Can you tell me anything? Can you solve my problem?”
“Hmmm. I saw much,” says the Pheonix Chicken thoughtfully, cafefully collecting thoughts and words.
“Well, tell me! Let’s hear it? You have a solution to my problem?” The Little bird asks with demanding eagerness.
“Those demons… the sentinels that stand watch over you…”
“Yes, they’re horrible!” she says, shuddering. “They stand there every night, watching me, judging me!”
“They are your guardian angels.”
“What?!” stutters the little bird in disbelief…
“They bear witness to your experience and watch over you. Have they ever done anything to hurt you?”
“Well no, they never move… they’re just there, judging me…” the little bird trails off in the reverie of a shifting perception of reality. “And what about the ones that fly and screech?! They are most certainly trying to hurt me!”
“Ahhh yes, those. They are like your cage…” the Pheonix Chicken says, somewhat cryptically. “The cage, and those demons… they are made of the song that you sing. Your sad song, and the words you say every night, when you think that you are being judged.”
“What?! You’re saying that all of these horrible demons and this cage that I’m trapped in to protect me from them… you’re saying that these all come from me?” the Little Bird says, with open disgust. “Well if I’m creating all of this, then how do I get out of it? How do I change it?”
“Aaaah. You have to learn to sing a new song,” says the Pheonix Chicken. This means nothing to the Little Bird, but as they’ve talked, a flock of wild birds has settled into the garden and is flitting about the branches of the trees, eating seeds and berries. The flock of wild birds is happily singing to themselves, a beautiful song. The wild birds are singing their song for themselves, with no thought about spectators, but it is as if they are singing for the Little Bird. Performing a concert for her benefit. Calling to the wildness that has fallen asleep in her soul.
But the Little Bird is still frustrated and confused. “I don’t understand. This cage is made of metal, and it holds me inside of it. I can no more choose to be outside of it than I can walk through its bars. And if I did, those demons would attack me in the night! I would have no protection!”
“Aaah, but both the cage and the demons will be transformed, and your guardian angels will always be there to support you,” says the Pheonix Chicken. But the Little Bird is quivering with fear at being confronted with responsibility for the change that she has been asking for. The Pheonix Chicken sighs. Cocking it’s head to a coy angle, looking at the cage with the Sight, peering in between the folds of reality, it says, “But, if you are creating the cage with your song… then wherever you are, you are already inside the cage, and you are already outside the cage…”
In a moment, the physical material of the cage responds to the Pheonix Chicken’s subtle unraveling of their reality, and the bars of the cage burst apart from each other, hanging separately in midair. The Little Bird is startled, and begins to panic. This is a strange experience, much like being in a house of mirrors, and she casts about herself.
Suddenly confronted with the freedom she has asked for, but not the feeling of safety that she had hoped would come first, she chirps her fear. As she speaks, her words become more bars of the cage, also hanging in space around her. She turns this way and that in her distress, “Pheonix Chicken, I’m scared! This is horrible, I don’t know what to do!”
And the Pheonix Chicken says again, “You have to learn to sing a new song! Listen to the song of the wild birds…” And as if in response to these words, the concert of the wild birds’ song builds into a great symphony, finally capturing the attention of the Little Bird. She breathes. She calms herself. And she begins to listen. And listen. And listen.
As she listens, the bars of the cage fall to the ground around her. As she listens some more, they begin to fade away. Soon though, the concert of the wild birds is coming to and end. Abruptly, all at once, the flock erupts from the trees and flies away. The Little Bird is startled again, feeling left behind and alone, and the shadow of the cage begins to re-appear around her. She looks back at the Pheonix Chicken, silently pleading for help.
“You must sing their song. You have to practice.” And so the Little Bird begins to practice singing the song of the wild birds. It is awkward and strange-sounding in her throat at first. But as she practices, the bars of the cage fade away again. “I think you’re beginning to get the idea.” says the Pheonix Chicken warmly.
It takes the Little Bird some time to learn to sing the wild bird’s song. The flocks of wild birds come to the garden again and again, and each time they do, the Little Bird studies their song, and tries to sing with them. As she does, slowly, the wild birds begin to see her and interact with her. Slowly, the Little Bird begins to fly again too. Just little flits around the garden at first, playing with the flocks of wild birds. Then longer flights, exploring the world around the garden.
Then one day, a flock of wild birds comes through the garden singing a particularly beautiful song. A song that madkes the Little Bird’s heart soar with joy. And as she picks up their sings and sang with them, the flock of birds welcome her. Then, all at once, the Little Bird and the wild flock, together as one mind, erupt into the air and fly away. And the Little Bird flies away with them. She finally found her flock.