“Free as a bird” is an expression that’s been on my mind. The ability to do whatever you’d like, without any concerns is a state of mind. Without restrictions, worry, fear, or regret, what would you do with your life?
Achieving this state of mind certainly takes work. It doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. Things often don’t go according to plan. But freedom lies in not getting stuck in doubt or misbelief. When I catch myself lost in these sort of thoughts, I let go of the looping ideas by being outdoors. Lately, I’ve really paid attention to birds.
“What merits these animals being the most free of all?” I thought to myself as I watched them meander around.
Each bird seemed to have an almost human expression to me. Some appeared worried, others playful.
“Maybe they aren’t as carefree as they seem. Survival takes a lot of effort regardless of your place in the animal kingdom,” I wrote in my sketchbook while at the Grand Canyon.
“But their freedom revolves around two abilities: to be unwavering in the face of uncertainty and to effortlessly travel at will.”
When searching for food or shelter, birds are never consumed with worry of failure. They aren’t thinking about the past of future. Birds may fight for survival and have emotions, but they don’t cling to anything. They simply continue along their way. I admire that.
I also admire birds’ ability to be on land or in air instantaneously. Freedom, to me, is the ability to travel. To see and experience all that the world has to offer . . . there is nothing greater than this.
Recently, I’ve been fortunate to travel quiet frequently. I’ve seen and photographed birds all around the world this summer. After photographing birds in St. Vincent, I wrote myself this note:
“I might not have wings, but I’m not so different than a bird. I have the same ability to float from one spot to another without negativity, without doubt. When I let go of everything that holds me down, I can soar.”
“What could – what should – be done with all the time that lies ahead of us, open and unshaped? Feather light in its freedom, and lead heavy in its uncertainty. Is it a wish, dreamlike and nostalgic, to stand once again at that point in life and be able to take a completely different direction, to the one that has made us who we are?” – Pascal Mercier