People oftentimes say “I want to live free as birds. It would be great if I could fly off to somewhere I can relax, escaping from all my duties…”
Yes, birds can fly. (Here, we exclude the flightless birds like kiwi, takahe, or penguins (penguins actullay do fly under the water.)
Compared with humans who need lots of material things to carry for a vacation, birds can fly off anytime without packaging a suitcase. They can rest wherever they can perch, they can stay as long as they want without paying a penny, they can claim a tree as their house.
In that regards, they seem to be free from many things.
However, that is human’s preferential interpretation.
I may dare to say with 99% of confidence that no life on earth is free from the survival duty. As a breathing form of life, we need to maintain our organs functioning till the moment of death, regardless of which is natural, accidental, or intentional. Hence, even birds, considered as the symbol of free-soul, should do something to keep their lives on, which means they should constantly source food, preen their feathers, find mate(s), rear chick(s), and do many avian things that were not yet understood by humans.
Before starting observing birds, I also thought that birds were free-folks enjoying unbound lives; however, they are chased by their own life-duties. They fly to deliver food to chicks, they fly to find a better place to winter, they fly to search food, they fly to fleet away from a predatory buzzard attack, etc. They just happen to have an ability to mobilize their body in the sky.
One thing more demanding in bird’s life than in human’s is that they always have to maintain a fit body to survive. Neither weak nor heavy pectoral muscle will float their body in the air. They have to master in finding a balance between the two ends of the extreme.
It seems no living creature can savor the luxury of freedom of human’s definition.
Yearning for freedom is a kind of mental disease created by humans. I belive too many thoughs in human’s brain actually takes away one’s freedom.
A busy bird does not need to think about freedom. He just follows his own heart and appreciates what life brings to him. In that way, they maintain everything lean and fit, which gives them the power to fly anytime. I think the busy bird feels freedom when he is doing what he has to do–searching food to feed his chicks, sourcing twigs to build the nest, etc. That is living the bird’s life.
Flying away from the life burden is not the prerequisite for being free. Rather, finding what one wants to do in his own life should be preceeded to obtain the real freedom. The person who knows the goal in his own life can grow strong wings that will eventually deliver himself to the very wanted place. The person who has not figured out what he wants to do will always feel estranged, get nervous with time ticking away, and hopelessly dream about flying off to somewhere else.