My Fascination With Flight: Part 2 – Feathers

I think I was around ten or eleven when my best friend, without asking if it was okay with my parents, bought be a zebra finch and cage for my birthday. I got him a wife, and they had some chicks – managed to raise two to adults.

Eventually they died, and I got a budgie, had him for a few years, and got a cockatiel. I lost the cockatiel (she was a sweetie too), and got a lovebird. Kept birds until I was nineteen, and moved to Australia, and couldn’t take the lovebird with me. She was easy to get rid of, tame as hell, because I hand raised her from a few weeks old, and the first person to come see her fell in love with her when I went to give her away.

I’ve always loved birds, and been fascinated with anything that can fly. I would watch the finches for hours as they flitted back and forth across their cage.

But the reason I stopped keeping birds, ultimately, was because once I got to the parrots – the ones that make the best companion pets, (important because I was such a lonely child) you have to clip their wings if they’re going to be out of their cages for any significant amount of time. A thing with wings should fly.

I dreamed of doing something like falconry, where one works with birds unclipped, letting them fly. I remember a group bringing in a bunch of rescued raptors in a show, and getting to see a great grey owl in person, that they had fly over our heads in the multipurpose room at school. I remember being captivated by David Bowie’s Goblin King, because the Goblin King could shape-shift into an owl. My favourite Cosgrove books were Shimmeree and the Flutterby ones, because they were horses with wings. I read the Pern novels just for the parts where characters get to ride on the backs of dragons.

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4 responses to “My Fascination With Flight: Part 2 – Feathers

  1. Here’s a thought on this:

    I wonder whether there is a relationship between on the one hand: flight, and birds and especially the concept of birds being able to fly freely, and freedom and all that stuff – and on the other hand a deep desire to escape, to be free – a desire that people who love the broad range of fantasy and ‘punk’ genre and science fiction hold dearly, those who read it and also who write it.

    I don’t think this is about escaping from people and things necessarily, rather it’s the quest for freedom and adventure, and maybe it’s also the wonder and glory of the journey itself.

    What you are saying here Lindsay, certainly does shed light on the strong theme of flight and flying that runs through your novel; I hope people will get the chance to read it.

    A

    • I’ve heard the same said of girls and horses, and I’m inclined to agree. Riding a horse was the first way that humans were ever able to move faster than their own two legs could carry them. When an abused girl in a YA medieval fantasy escapes from whatever predicament she’s in, she escapes on the back of a horse. I certainly did have the horse bug when I was a girl, and wanted nothing more in the whole world than to take horseback riding lessons (which my parents refused, still not sure why.)

      But there’s also something else that’s not about freedom at all. When you hold the reins of a horse, you have a beast ten times or more your size between your legs. That’s a monster, that thing could kill you if it wanted to, and there would be nothing you could do to stop it. But it doesn’t – instead, it does what you tell it to do. All that power is at your command. I think that might be why people like powerful cars – I always get a bit of a rush when I drive my dad’s one-ton truck. It’s just this huge powerful machine, and when I tell it to move, it moves. Me, little five foot three Lindsay, can make a tonne of metal move.

      And then I imagine myself in the pilot seat of the 737 that took me to vancouver, and the jets that propel it are just about as big as my car. Holy crap, that would be awesome.

  2. There’s an interesting theme here (which I’d explore if it wasn’t for the day job and busyness) around the relationship between power, freedom, and control. Inevitabilty it can get mixed up with gender as well, and then it gets really complicated: men and power, women and power, power and freedom. The exercise of power, and legitimate enjoyment of it has traditionally been a male preserve; the challenge for all of us (male and female) is to enjoy power and freedom ourselves and be comfortable with others doing the same. There’s probably a huge global lesson for men around accepting the self evident legitimacy of women enjoying freedom and power.

    I’m reminded of the debate we had on this forum about the reaction to women dressing in costume for different conventions.

    A

  3. Hi, I am Darren Murph, I am grew up near farms and wide open spaces, but never turned down the opportunity to fire up a Nintendo Entertainment System or build just about anything with his dad.I grabbed a B.S. in Business Management from NC State (while hopelessly becoming a lifelong Wolfpack fan), an MBA from Campbell University and a opportunity from Ryan Block to write for Engadget
    Thank you very much for your excellent post! rsgp

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