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A Bird in a Cage: How Much Joy?

August 16, 1985

My eyes caught the headline (Letters, June 8), "Simple and Inexpensive Way to Relieve Stress." You are absolutely kidding, are you not, Dr. Walter L. Axelrod? Having a bird or two in a cage would bring joy and happiness to everyone?

To confine a living creature, whose natural domain is an endless sky, is cruel and egotistical. Could it be fathomed that anyone, regardless of condition, might find peace of mind and joy of spirit in watching a little bird flutter about in a cage? How magnanimous of you to suggest a cage "not small". A cage is nothing but just that.

Years ago someone presented us with two parakeets in a cage. The birds were beautiful but they certainly brought us neither happiness nor joy. Their imprisonment saddened us. After a while, two eggs hatched. However, to our utmost horror, the fledglings were killed by their parents.

I simply cannot describe the anguish we suffered. No, we were not fascinated and enthralled. The drama that enfolded before our very eyes was not in any respect beautiful. My cares and worries did not vanish like the morning fog. The next day I turned over cage and all to a reputable private aviary.

We are all in one way or another stressed, confined. Could we not fill our hearts with tremendous joy at the sight of a bird soaring the sky and the sound of a mockingbird perched on the very tip of a tall tree serenading the last rays of the setting sun?

May I conclude with a little story? At a Chinese art exposition one viewer asked: "Why did the artist only paint a bird on a branch?" The reply was: "Had he used up all the space, there would not have been any where the bird could fly."

ASTRID HARALDSTED

Los Angeles

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