Music and Lyrics by Amelie Andrezel
Performed by Wells Andersen
If I’d been a bird—if wings of metal or wings of bone had any bearing on the Moon—I would have used it as a runway. I would have sprinted, with whatever strength remained in my legs, toward the edge of the summit and flung myself off. My wings would have carried me over the black. I would have circled down over the homestead, a sprig of green olive clutched tightly in my beak.
The ancient Polynesians navigated by bird.
The sky above the Pacific is a mirror, reflecting the deep and fathomless blue of the ocean. The birds struck out at an angle to the horizon and the Polynesians bobbed below, dragged along like an anchor. Those fine sailors, with their strong, brown arms and sleek, black hair, would follow the migrating flocks from island to island across the desolate ocean. But they could not sail with the speed or endurance of the birds, and soon they would be left behind.
The next year, the sailors would return to the spot they had last seen the flock and wait for them to appear overhead. In this manner, generation by generation, they crossed the South Seas and discovered Hawaii. They bound the fury of the ocean in maps; they imprisoned it in a tapestry of islands and stars; they stretched it out on loom of patience and bone.
I’d fly home in pieces, year after year, progress traced by the stars.
-Amelie Andrezel, “The Rock of Saint Michael”
I caught a long wind / A long life wind / Like a swallow / A night owl / A little chickadee / Sad sparrow / Good morning bird / Good nightingale / I took a deep breath / And caught a long wind
-Feist, “Caught a Long Wind”
JORDAN: Are you a bird enthusiast?
KONRAD (confused): What?
He looks around, taking a moment to remember the birds.
KONRAD (sheepishly): No. Enjoying the company, that’s all.
JORDAN: And the birds? Would they say the same, do you think?
Jordan sits very close to Konrad on the little bench. She reaches across his body and removes a canary from the cage. Leaning in toward Konrad, she admires the bird perched on her finger.
KONRAD: Canaries are gay creatures. In their eyes, the wit and whimsy of a man must seem exceptionally drab.
JORDAN: Perhaps not. They’re realists, you know.
JORDAN: Open the latch.
Konrad looks at her skeptically.
JORDAN: Go on. Open it.
Reluctantly, Konrad lifts the latch on the canaries’ cage. The door swings open. To his surprise, not a single bird takes flight. They continue to twitter and gossip, pecking at the scattered seed. Gently, Jordan returns the bird she has been petting to the highest rung within the cage.
JORDAN: You see?
KONRAD: How did you know they wouldn’t fly away?
JORDAN: Because I am also a realist.
Konrad does not reply. He looks again at the birds, content in their cage.
JORDAN (as an explanation): What is the point, sir, of trading one cage for another?
Konrad looks up at The Barrier, capping the town and walling off the sky.
KONRAD (thoughtfully): Anarchy and liberty are not the same. A great deal of freedom is gained in sacrificing fluidity for stability.
JORDAN (coyly, feigning humility): Of course. How simplistic to think that a man is either free or he is caged! I suppose only simple creatures like song birds—and ladies—would believe it. What good fortune that there are gracious gentlemen like yourself, to temper our colorful notions with shades of gray.