Once, during the early years of my adolescence, I had a pet canary. I kept her in a small cage which I placed on the porch table. I never forgot to feed her regularly, a task which I never entrusted to anybody else.
I remember the time when I used to sit there on the porch, just listening to her beautiful singing. Whenever my friends called on me, I very often showed them my prize canary with pride. I had taught her to sing whenever I whistled a tune that was similar to her song.
Then one day, a terrible thing happened. After I had fed her I did not notice that I had left the cage door open. In a matter of minutes she was gone. My favorite pet had flown away, leaving behind her the empty cage, which I thought was so beautiful, and was not a mere reminder of the happy days when I used to her sing.
My first reaction was to try to get her back, no matter what it cost. I saw her perched on the fence, her wings not used to flying over long distances. I immediately rushed into the house and got my air rifle. I was so desperate, and the only thought that was in my mind was to capture the creature even if it meant that I had to kill her. Fortunately, I was too late, when I returned, she was already gone.
I was angry at everything. I kept on telling myself that it was unjust, after all the trouble I went through taking care of the bird. I could not bear it if I was to see her in the possession of another person. Maybe, that was the reason why I wanted to kill her rather than to let her fly away.
Several days passed. One afternoon, just as the sun was about to set, I was sitting out on the porch. Suddenly, I heard her singing. I was surprised to hear it because canary birds are seldom seen here, and when you hear one singing, you cannot just mistake it for some other bird’s son. And my canary’s singing, I cannot mistake for some other canary’s.
I looked up and saw her, perched on one of the limbs of a tree. That time, I felt a longing inside me, a longing to have her back. She was too close, yet it was almost impossible to catch her. But the feeling quickly passed, because I realized that the song I was hearing was just the same as, if not more beautiful than, the song that I heard from the cage. The song was still mine, mine to hear, mine to enjoy for a moment.
As I looked at that blue bird high up on the branches of the tree, it seemed as if she was happier then, because she was free. She was still my bird, yet she was free. That was the time I began to realize that every bird can, and does, sing a truly beautiful song. Unlike before when I only know how to listen to the song of a bird in a cage, now I have learned how to listen to every bird I hear. As long as I could hear them, they were mine.
From that day on, I never saw my canary again. However, I was glad that she was able to escape from her prison because, through that, I was able to see the real value of possession. My property does not end at the place where the fences surrounding my house stand. A creature, as long as it gives me pleasure whenever I see or hear it, belongs to me.