Free as a bird



All, I have to say, is not right with the world. At least in terms of weather. Granted, it tends to behave beautifully when I really need it to…it is obligingly suited to purpose most of the time. Even the heavy northern rain at the end of Saturday evening only left me laughing… and dripping somewhat… as we ran through the city streets in search of transport. I haven’t done that in more years than I care to remember…

But this morning it was warm and sunny… an August day… short sleeves weather… Summer. I woke with my legs… which had evidently escaped the warmth of the duvet overnight in search of cooler climes…duly and comprehensively mosquito –bitten. This only happens in summer in England

Therefore… wearing the scarlet lumps on my legs as seasonal confirmation…I should not be covered in shivering gooseflesh so early in the evening, thinking in terms of hot baths and fluffy dressing gowns. A thought, I admit, I have already surrendered to. Mainly on the principle that there are few amphibious mosquitoes. They were welcome to try… nor would I have begrudged being supper for anything prepared to brave the hot, steamy depths of my bathtub. The gown now covers most of my otherwise exposed and apparently palatable flesh… well, at least to invertebrates… and Ani is valiantly chasing anything that flies, from mosquito to magpie.


Including the hot air balloon. Again. She just doesn’t understand them…

But mainly birds.

It is every time she has been to stay with her friends .. as soon as she comes home she becomes even more defensive of her territory… especially her airspace… than ever. She protests vociferously at every intrusion, making little distinction between butterfly and buzzard.  Although the doves and pigeons, who don’t seem to take the slightest notice of her, are the worst offenders in her eyes. She bounces in circles. Climbs fences. Goes, one could say, nuts.

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It is all about the boundaries. And as far as Ani is concerned, what she can see from her garden is hers

I don’t suppose we are that much different really. We look out on ‘our’ world with proprietary eyes. We think of the things we own, the place we live, especially, perhaps, the people we love as ‘ours’. Yet so little of what we think of as ours is actually truly that. We just have things for a while. Nor do we … can we…own those we love.

Maybe we are afraid that if we lose control of ‘our’ worlds we will somehow lose ourselves in losing those things that we think define us? Perhaps we feel safer within our ‘walls’.. our roles stable.. our vision of self fixed and reassuringly familiar… constantly reinforced by the material and intangible mirror of the possessions, situations and people that frame the picture of self we have painted?

We can put up boundaries to keep the world out, or to keep our worlds ‘safe’ from the inside… we can even bark at intruders…but maybe all we are really doing is shutting ourselves in with an illusion, away from all the possibilities that life can hold outside those boundary walls.

I think the birds must look down on Ani’s antics with amusement from their perch on the roof. They can see so much further in flight than she can from the ground… they see the hedgerows and walls that map our lives while they, themselves are bounded only by the sky and how far their wings and the winds can carry them.

Maybe they have a point…

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About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in Dogs, England, Landscape, Life, Love and Laughter, Photography, Spirituality, The Silent Eye and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Free as a bird

  1. alienorajt says:

    Excellent analogy, Sue. You are right too. We are territorial as a species – pointlessly so ultimately! Possessive too: Mine, mine, mine…
    Thoughtfully written piece which has certainly got this old boiler thinking! xxx


    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thanks, Ali.
      I think we have to be… well, we think we have to be… most seem to have lost the knack of being ourselves and have to constantly reinforce the self image so we know who we are.. or think we do.
      Old boiler indeed!


  2. That is so true. Very few things are actually ours. If anything at all…


  3. Lois says:

    Great post, Sue – and wonderful photos as usual!


  4. Running Elk says:

    ^ What Ali said…
    Did I mention I was coming back as a seagull…. karmic returns, all round… !! 😉
    Oooo… that just gave me the shivers. Twas JLS what started me off all these years ago… still can’t get my head around the number of peeps what don’t get that book… 🙂


  5. words4jp says:

    I certainly feel like Ani, though I have no choice to let go of the control. If I buy myself a bone – do you think that may soften the reality? 🙂


  6. theINFP says:

    I sympathise with the bites, mozzies love English blood. Have you tried a plug mozzie zapper that repels rather than killing them?


    • Sue Vincent says:

      Haven’t been able to find one for use over here.. just for travelling..used to swear by them in France!
      My son swears the mozzies in Asia had his presence out there up in lights… as a European delicacy 🙂


  7. Wonderful photos!


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