The birds had never known about the world outside until the day Nimbus
discovered words. She remembered when understanding had hit her like a
B-i-r-d. A word written on the teacher’s whiteboard. “Bird,” the teacher
had said, along with a string of other words. But her human finger had
stopped at the word as she made the sound. It was a word Nimbus had seen
before. It was on the cage. People had looked at her and said it. She was a bird.
In time, the teacher’s simple habit of pointing to words on the board and
saying them aloud helped Nimbus discover more. Before the month was out,
she had learned a bit of geography, weather, and astronomy, gobbling up the
information like millet seeds. Most important, she had learned about the sky,
flight, and a world beyond the school door filled with many other birds. This
information jolted Nimbus’s brain like electricity. It meant there was more to
discover. More to life. It answered a question in Nimbus’s heart she had always
possessed but could not name. Something more was out there.
In time, with practice and patience, Nimbus could read the newspapers.
She was never able to choose the information, of course, but there was enough
about weather and geography to build her knowledge and keep her thirsty for
TO HAVE OLD
CRICKET AS A