A Man Walks Up to a Bird

A man walks up to a stranger and asks, “Can you fly?” The stranger replies, “Are you crazy? Of course I can’t fly! I don’t have wings. I’m much too heavy and, even if I could fly, I’ve got much more important things to do than fly around all day.” Puzzled, the man walks on until he meets a bird and asks, “Can you fly?” Bewildered, the bird replies, “Oh course I can fly. Can’t you?”

If this seems like a strange little story to you… well, it did to me too. Yet that’s what popped into my head yesterday afternoon while walking around the Granary Building in downtown Guelph, Ont., to test-drive my new Nikon A900 camera. The song of a cardinal caught my attention from a distant tree, and as I encountered more birds, something beneath it all slowly wove its way into my head.

Each of us has a different view of what flying means:

  • Escaping the seeming bonds of some crappy job
  • Leaving some unhealthy relationship
  • Rising beyond cultural, racial or sexual discrimination
  • Transcending physical or mental “disabilities”
  • Unfettering yourself from what others say you “should” be doing

Yet there would appear to be a constant that applies to everyone.

While any number of people are only too happy to tell you that flying is impossible and even crazy and irresponsible, there are an equal number of people (and fellow creatures) who’ve never even considered that you CAN’T fly.


mourning dove










Photography Note: Even though this sounds like a product plug, I’ll take a second to gush anyway about the new Nikon Coolpix A900 camera (in case you’re considering buying one).

As a travel-size camera that delivers crisp 20MP images with its low-light CMOS image sensor, the A900 packs a super telephoto NIKKOR glass lens with 35X optical zoom — and 70X digital zoom. As someone who takes a lot of nature shots, the combined portability of the camera with an optical zoom was the main reason why I bought the camera, but the perks include full manual control, 4K HD video recording, Wi-Fi and SnapBridge, plus a fully tilting LCD screen. There’s no viewfinder and the screen isn’t touch-sensitive. Yet the camera controls are simple to use and conveniently at thumb’s reach, and as one who spent a long time using a Samsung Galaxy touch-screen camera, I personally found the button controls a relief to use (especially in glaring sunlight conditions that make LCD screens very hard to see).


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