You Can Cage the Bird, But Not the Song by Ursula McLoughlin

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I watched from my window, with a hot lemon anti-flu drink in my hands, as the storm took hold last November. The sky was the colour of old mop water and full fat rain whipped from every direction. ‘Miserable’, I thought to myself. But, before I slipper shuffled away from the window, something caught my eye. A fluttering robin dashing around my apocalyptic garden. I watched him for a few moments, intrigued by his high speed antics. He was a sudden burst of red-breasted loveliness caught between the rainy smears on my window pane. I gave him my first smile of the day. Yet, that smile soon turned. I suddenly felt huge concern for this small creature, stuck out there, fending for himself alone in the storm.


‘How can such a small thing survive this?’ I was worried. I became obsessed thinking about him. Every day I would check to see if he would re-appear and everyday he would. Through winds, rains, extreme cold I would watch from my window in anticipation to see if he survived another day. It made me so happy to see him at the beginning of every one of those difficult days. Then, one day he appeared with a ‘bird’. Somewhere, between the desperate weather and furious drive to find food and simply survive, this robin found himself a ‘hot chick’. I couldn’t have been happier, yet, I thought to myself, ‘I feel so sad for those poor creatures. How lucky am I to be able to stay in from all that storminess, to be comfortable and away from whatever craziness nature would hit me with’.

When I finally walked away happily from my perch by the window, the two little robins looked at each other mournfully and chirped ‘I feel so sad for that poor creature, all winter she was locked behind that glass cage. We’re so lucky to be free in nature’…

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