The other morning, during the Tea Ceremony, I lazily stared out of the window, and noticed a gang of sparrows feasting on some crumbs we had thrown down. They scratched and rummaged through the gravel, garnering tasty morsels along the way. This is an everyday, rural scene, though one that is simply pleasing, I kept watching. I wondered who, apart from me, was top bird, and who was the bottom bird. Was there a gender bias between the top and bottom birds? Was there any more tea in the pot?
One lucky little lady Sparrow found a monster sized crumb, just shy of an inch around, that’s 2.5cm in new money, and off she flew. Aerodynamics is a precise art, even for a fluttering bird, and that swinging prize had hugely affected her flight accuracy. The crumb was dangling, precariously from her beak, as she clumsily attempted to alight on one of the many twigs at the top of the nearest hedge. As she made footfall, that crumb let go and crashed down through the hedge and on to the ground.
Now, here is the thing. She immediately noticed that crumb’s loss and looked around for it. At no point did she look down. I cannot say for sure whether or not she looked up, but she definitely looked all around, as if expecting that crumb to be hovering at beak level.
I thought this was fascinating, because I, as top bird, would look down, following that crumb’s obvious line of travel. So, why did my little Sparrow simply look in one plane?
Having given this a teacup full of thought the realization came to me; I do not fly. If attempted, I fall out of the sky, much like crumbs. It is a bit of an inconvenience, but there you have it. The little Sparrow does fly.
My experience is that when I, or anything else is lifted into the air and released, it always falls to the ground. I know, where to look for those things; I look downwards.
Birds have a different gravitational experience. They fly. Their fellow birds fly. They do not fall out of the sky. Even food on the ground, can be picked up and flown away with. To a little Sparrow, flight is normal. To the little Sparrow, that crumb should have stayed around the place it was dropped, up in the air. Why not? That is how the world is seen by a little Sparrows eyes.
Now, if only I can figure out why toast always falls butter side down……..
Where did I put my cup?