Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Free Bird

A Princess of Roumania by Paul Park.  Cover artist unknown.
Welcome to the latest Round Robin Photo Challenge! The subject today, as chosen by Phinney of Paragon, is "Free."

I could take the easy way out, and show you this free book, which I got at the Nebula Awards Weekend, and which happens to be from the publisher that currently has my novel submission in its slush pile. But I've already mentioned last weekend's freebies, so let's move on.

My question to you tonight, seeing as how I'm the question pondering type, is, why do we constantly associate birds with the concept of freedom? There's the expression "free as a bird," but that's just the beginning. The American Bald Eagle is our symbol of liberty in this country. On tv, "the Eagle" is a corporate symbol for a law firm that hopes to free you from post-accident financial difficulties. And there are a whole slew of song lyrics, which I will be illustrating tonight with my somewhat lame photos of the neighborhood doves. Let's get started!

There's the Lynard Skynard song Free Bird, of course,

'Cause I'm as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change.

Is that supposed to be a good thing? Sure, we can't force other people to change. But I hope we're capable to changing ourselves.

I love the next-to-last Beatles song ever, Free As a Bird:

Free as a bird
Is the next best thing to be
Free as a bird

Home, home and dry
Like a homing bird I'd fly...
As a bird on wings.

Notice that it's not the very best thing to be. In fact, for a long time I was sure the lyric was, "It's the next worst thing to be." John's free-as-a-bird person just wants to fly home, a sentiment Paul echoes in his "middle eight" lyric about "the life that we once knew":

Where did we lose the touch
that seemed to mean so much?
It always made me feel so...

All in all, I'd rather be human than one of these doves, along with the touch that means so much. I'd even rather have a human's constraints and responsibilities. Wouldn't you?

Another favorite of mine is the Leonard Cohen song, Bird on a Wire:

Like a bird on a wire,
Like a drunk in a midnight choir,
I have tried in my way to be free.

The birds in my neighborhood have a special connection with Stevie Nicks, and her song Edge of Seventeen:

Just like a White-winged Dove
Sings a song, sounds like she's singing
Whoo... whoo... whoo...

(Actually, a white-winged dove sounds a bit more like the Great White North theme than the Nicks song. Coo-roo-roo coo coo, coo-roo-coo coo, coor!

From the calypso song Yellow Bird:

Did your handsome friend leave the nest again?
That is very sad, make me feel so bad.
You can fly away, in the sky away,
You more lucky than me.

Sounds to me as though the handsome friend's desire for freedom is at least part of the problem here!

And that's the point of all this bird imagery, isn't it? We imagine we would be more free if we could just fly away from our problems. Lenny Kravitz has just one of the many "Fly Away" songs:

I'd fly above the trees
Over the seas in all degrees
To anywhere I please

Oh I want to get away
I want to fly away
Yeah yeah yeah

But really, where would we go? Watch those doves, and you'll see that it doesn't take much to put them to flight. But they always end up in the same old places, and as skittish as ever.

No. It's true that we mustn't be caged, but flying away doesn't generally help, except as a little vacation from our troubles. Eventually we have to land, and deal with everything that makes us feel not free, or else learn to enjoy the security for which we traded a bit of freedom. I'm not free to swing my fist to where your nose is, or to suddenly fly to Orlando or Syracuse without consulting my husband, my boss and my finances. But that's okay. In the immortal words of Austin Powers, "We still have freedom, but we also have responsibility. It's a groovy time, baby."

Still, I wouldn't mind a flying dream tonight.


Check out all the Round Robin entries!

Round Robin Linking List

Phinney... Paragon POSTED!

Karen... Outpost Mâvarin POSTED!

Carly... Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly POSTED!

Tammy... The Daily Warrior POSTED!

Sara... Animated Seasons

Connie... Connie's Photo Pages

Erika... Stealing Time (new title) POSTED!

Nancy... Nancy Luvs Pics POSTED!

T J... Photo Inclusions: Every Picture Tells A Story POSTED!

Suzanne... Suzanne R's Life ***Welcome New Member!*** POSTED!

Julie... Julie's Web Journal POSTED!

Valorie... Retrospect USA POSTED!

Mary... Alphawoman's Blog ***Welcome Back, Dear Friend!***

Sassy/Deb... Sassy's EYE (AOL) POSTED! and A Sassy Blog (Blogspot) POSTED!

Steven... (sometimes) photoblog POSTED!

Tess... First Digital Photos POSTED!

Derek... Through My Eyes POSTED!

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Carly said...

Deep! LOL. Cool thought provoking entry. I dunno...I think to some degree taking flight from lifes little woes can be a good thing. Sometimes a step back is just what the doctor ordered. I suppose all things are good in moderation. "Hmmm...now I'm going to be thinking serious thoughts all day." LOL.

tess said...

Music of a Free Heart!

Tammy said...

I loved how you took this topic and made it fun and thought provoking at the same time. I would not want to be a bird either.

Hope you fly in your dreams:)


its because they can fly

Sassy/Deb said...

Karen~I love your ponderings and the amount of thought you give any subject. Fantastic entry! I have been into birds more lately; now all I have to do is get that macro lens to photograph them. ;-) Sassy/Deb

TJ said...

OH WOW!! I love them that yellow bird in flight wings all stretched out is fabulous!!!!
You do such great shots.
I recently discovered a close up setting on my camera...dah!!!

Suzanne R said...

I love your great pictures and the lyrics that go so well with them.

Thanks for the welcome -- this has been fun! I will definitely do it again!

julie said...

I love your bird shots. I've been trying in vain to get some with no luck. I really like the "Yellow Bird" picture.

Nancy said...

Wonderful entry, Karen! Love the combo of photos and songs. A bird is probably one of the first things that comes to mind with the word "free".
Anyway, I'm all posted now. How do I let the Round Robins know?



Redbird said...

Very nice presentation! I especially like the "bird walk" in picture one!