I am Scarlet, Scarlet Tanager. A bird who hatched in the South and lost in the North. Here I was, told you a story of mine, not a good one but I hope it leads my way to you.
I remember that afternoon, years ago before I turned one. When the leave has fallen composed with their dignity told me a story of an autumn that I have never seen. I was young and enthusiast. Every pain and failure were part of live experience. I believed that moment of time, those experiences will shape me into what’s best of me. Until it never stops. It starts to burn me part by part, stole every single piece of me. One day my friends, next day my freedom, and when I was sane enough to sort out my mind. It was gone, my confidence, my capability, my time, and my youth. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t let myself free.
I was lost the count after three winters. That morning, I was wondering around the forest, prepared for my long travel to went back to the South, avoid the harsh winter, when I was caught by human and spent my life in a cage since then. I tried for uncounted times to beats the bars that separate me with my freedom, but it never works. Every time I almost did it, the human that’s caught me would change the cage and I need to start again. At this point, I was forgot the reason I claimed my freedom. Here in the cage, I am safe, warm, and full. I just lost my right to fly and logically, it was unnecessary. Once all I need was provided, yet I’m still thirst of freedom.
Yet it’s hurt, when you know that you lose yourself and forget your power. Nonetheless, the universe forgot to teach you, how to give up. You are holding the last piece of yourself and keep making steps. Sometimes even a step was too hard and you crawl instead. An untold pain like the leaves were forced to the end of their live, supports the young like they didn’t deserved a longer live. Their time was gone. Old dream just a dream, no longer alive to proves its existence.
Until that dawn, a girl with blue-black hair and wide black eye kept her words. Her long-blue hair blew by the wind, a daughter of a man that caught me. Sometimes she’d talked to me with her teary eyes, the other time she’d gave me some grapes or oranges. She like to told me story of her life. Apparently, she also lived in a cage like me. Every time she came with her teary eyes, she’d told me ‘I will set you free once I remember how to cut my leash’, but it never happens. The dawn hasn’t come yet but she was holding her bag and I think, it finally comes. She was hastily open my cage door and whisper to me,
‘GO! FLY AWAY GO! DON’T COME BACK HERE EVER AGAIN! DON’T LET ANYONE TRAPPED YOU AGAIN, GO!’
But I was just sat there in the cage. When the freedom I wish for was in front of me, I felt hesitation abused me. I had no idea why I couldn’t make a step away. It’s so easy, I just need to flapped my wing like what I always wanted, but I was forgotten by my own power. I forgot how to flapped my wings.
The girl pushed her hand inside the cage, stable and warm. She gave me a sign to step on her finger and I clumsily make a step to her finger. Slow and steady, she pulled me out of my cage and swung me away to the air. I start to flapped my wings like my body always remember how, I fly again. I want to turned my head to say my grateful to her, but I had no brave to do so. All my focus was to fly ahead and didn’t looking back.
Out of the cage, I could taste that winter soon will come. I was late in time, autumn was almost on its edge, mocking me with the flurries of wind. I believe, my flock wasn’t around anymore. They should had reached the gulf, left this place with limited amount of food. I couldn’t stand the howls of the wind and rush my flight to reached the gulf before winter without enough food. But my option was limited, then I fly and fly to found the forest that’s around, unfortunately I found none. I was tired and hungry, almost passed out when finally found few oak trees to lean on. I like to went down to the ground and hunts the ants, worms, or anything left but my fear of being caught by human again keep me on the top of the tree. There were some seeds left in the tree, it’s hard and taste bad. I was able to brave myself to get some food from park nearby, and after I filled my stomach, I start my journey to the South.
After my third day on sky, I realized that there’s too many changed around. The canopy that I used to see along the way to the gulf has gone. The building looked like stairs to reach the sky. The red light was getting blurred, the stars were hardly seen, and travel at night seems so dangerous. One time, as I flew all by myself, passing through the forest of concrete, I was found myself drawn into a bright light and almost hurt myself and crashed to the skyscrapers. The world has changed.
I finally reached the gulf but as I expected, my flock was gone. I need more rest before crossing the gulf. Luckily, I met another flock of blue-bird. “Hey, why are you still here?” asked a bird with blue feathers.
“I was lost and left behind, I tried to catch the flocks now.” I said,
“Where are you heading to? The south?” asked the blue bird,
“The south,” I admitted,
“Well, you can join us until you find your flocks, if you want.” I smiled bright fully, grateful by her offers.
“Thanks! I am about to ask that. I will follow you silently. Thank you so much!” I said,
“I am Rina, Passerina.” A beautiful name and soul of her called Rina.
“Scarlet, Scarlet Tanager” I said, and that was my story until I met Rina and being my company through the rest of my journey.
Travel with Rina’s flock indeed makes everything easier. They show me the way and listened to my story. Very kind of them, took me as their own kind, share the food with me and teach me how to sing their song. I was getting closer with the South and my excitement on its peak. Every tear and bruised didn’t felt bad anymore. What I cared the most was there in front of me. And that dawn, when the sky painted with a clear blue, I saw a familiar beautiful orange flock dominated the trees far ahead. It’s them, my flock!