Free As A Bird

Daily Prompt: New Skin

I soared high yonder over every creature, landmass, and water body on Earth. The air was incredible under my soft, bristle tipped wings. The humans and their mechanical boxes looked like ants as my sharp eyesight honed in on future prey, my keen sense of smell bringing in the scent of something scurrying to safety, its hopes for survival futile as my hunger for fresh meat became strong and irresistible.

Through the clouds, free as a bird, literally. It is the ultimate dream, to soar through the sky, to visit places far and wide. The spirit follows my every movement. Life is abundant, thriving everywhere I look. Aerodynamically sound is the state of my windswept body. I fly through the air with relative ease, the air a mixture of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen making a nice whooshing sound, sifting through my finely tuned feathers.

A bird has free range, can fly limitless. Can see many things one could only hope to see in an entire lifetime: the seven wonders, exotic countries, the tops of high buildings, every major celebration happening in the world, mecha sporting event gatherings, extraordinary people being honored for their achievements, music from all walks of life, the cultural differences, language variations, interesting smells of native cuisine.

Suddenly, the cry of another winged warrior reached my tiny eardrums. It was a call of desperation. She was in danger, maybe being hunted down by a much larger predator. My curiosity looked around for her presence, flying faster to follow the sound of her cries for help. But then it was drowned out by a sudden rainstorm erupting from the clouds, dampening my beautiful feathers. Time to go in for an emergency landing.

Landing under a bench turned from its natural brown to a damp dark grey, I observed the modern homo sapiens hurrying around for shelter; some whipping out handy umbrellas, some covering their heads with the Daily News, some testing to see if their phones were truly waterproof, some just standing there taking it all in. Even though I’m a bird now, I can still think like a human, can still remember when I was a creature of habit, a creature of self-satisfaction, needs, and wants. I used to see the world through a narrow opening, only knowing what was in front of me, how I was used to living. But now that my form is that of the bright yellow American Goldfinch, so small and fragile but quick as lightning, I see that the human world is very trivial, so valued on the pursuit of greatness and destiny.

A few of my friends soar down from the sky, landing on the pavement, looking for shelter and food like me. I observe them, looking around curiously at the commotion racing back and forth through the now rainy park in New York City, the celebrations and energy from last night now the remains of confetti and discarded alcohol containers filling trash bags.

Just last night, I saw Times Square, the streets crowded with a sea of humanity, ushering in a brand new year, a new glimmer of hope. Perched on top of a flashing billboard, it was incredible to see my former species from a different perspective, unburdened by limited mobility, able to take in everything around me, not being a virtual sardine in the mass of people. The closing year extravaganza stretched all the way down the Manhattan borough through Broadway, the screen on the Times Square tower displaying the time until 2014 turned into 2015. Advertisements cycled through on curving LED boards, the electricity coupling with the combined power of the swarming crowds below.

As the musical performances picked up on center stage, my little body flew in for a closer look, taking in the intensity of the moment, the energy and excitement, the sound raising up the decibel scale, a comparison to a buzzing hive of worker bees.

As my former friends counted down from ten and shouted out the now overused, clichéd celebration chant heard year round, I was glad I didn’t have to worry about making any New Year’s resolutions or counting on incredible but unlikely goals happening. As a bird, I didn’t have to worry about traveling the world – I could do that for free, all I needed was my internal GPS guiding me, showing me the way. Most birds aren’t aware that they could have an excellent view of anything in the world, without having to get on a plane or pay to get through the door, but I have the human awareness to realize I have this ultimate freedom to explore the world like never before. I also didn’t have to worry about losing weight – I only munch on small leaves and berries and go after the meat of small rodents that I fancy. I don’t have to worry about finding a job – I believe my only job is to survive, being below a lot of others on the food chain, and to use my special observation skills to explore and roam freely in this world.

Spending the next year as the Goldfinch, with its beautiful yellow body and black and white wings, is an interesting endeavor. Actually, I could have chosen any bird, but searching through pictures of bird candidates, from the browns, blues, reds, and multicolored, I saw that this one had colors I was fond of. They are bright, elegant, and happy colors as well as the color of sunshine. I’m not a big bird expert and diving into the details of these winged species would be a boring task. The big picture is that choosing to be a bird for a year would strengthen my observation skills. I would get to see the world more, fly to interesting locales I am currently unable to see. I would get to learn about these spritely creatures from the mind and wings of one, would learn how they communicate, what their daily lives are like in their eyes. I guess you could say I would have a Birdseye view of life from another species.

If you could spend the next year as someone radically different from the current “you” — a member of a different species, someone from a different gender or generation, etc. — who would you choose to be?