Bird Song and Razor Wire (by Polish Avenger)
Polish Avenger – A software-engineering undergraduate sentenced to 25 years because his friend was shot dead during a burglary they were committing. In Arizona, if a burglar gets killed, the accomplices get 25-year sentences.
One of the most insistent reminders of being in prison is the ubiquitous razor wire. The stuff is everywhere, multiple strings of maliciously designed metal hell. It really is a sinister invention. Not only is it the sharpest thing I’ve ever encountered, but according to prison legend, it’s coated with a powerful anticoagulant. So if you get sliced while trying to escape, you won’t clot – you’ll just continue to leak and leave a nice trail for the guards to follow.
So you can imagine my surprise at an observation a few days back. Our unit here happens to be in a particularly diverse and well-populated riparian corridor (i.e. lots of birds). I am in the slim minority here who appreciates them. I love watching them, especially the swallows. Superb little diving acrobats they are! Pure fun to watch. But the most singular trait of these cheeky little buggers is that they fearlessly land atop those death-sharp fangs of wire, perch nonchalantly, and sing. Full-chested arpeggios of swallowsong. Scant millimetres away from fatal hemorrhage and all they do is serenade.
That, my friends, is exactly how I feel. My inner self is right up there alongside my feathered comrades, bursting out a triumphant song of joy that no oppressor can put down. Not by religion or dogma, but by the choice to have a good day. We don’t have to riot, or fight, or seethe with impotent rage against the system. When we decide to have a good day no matter what they throw at us, we win! We spite the unjust, snub the negative, laughingly tweak the nose of the diabolical inventors of razor wire, and proclaim that despite a quarter-century prison sentence, despite atrocity and human rights violations, and a broad spectrum of raw inhumanity, things are actually still OK. Yes, even in here. And yes, even out there.
What kind of day do you choose to have?
“…there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.”
– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
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Shaun P. Attwood