When I promised that Jin Jin and I would blog from China, there was one issue I forgot about. After I spent over an hour trying to get on Word Press, I asked Jin Jin to help me connect. “Probably you can’t,” she said. “Why not?” I asked. “It’s China,” she stated. “Probably they [the government] block that website.”
Wow! Jin Jin and I had been talking from time to time about how much we, as Americans, take for granted. One of those things would be the ability to share our thoughts – regardless of how irreverent – with whomever we want, whenever we want.
On the other hand, I saw another kind of amazing connection this morning that astounded me. A type of communication that perhaps you could never see in the U.S. It was around 6:30 when I awoke. I went to the hotel window to see what the day might bring. Immediately I saw a flock of white birds zooming around in a circle. There must have been seventy of them. They were flying as a group in broad circles about ½ block in diameter.
Then I noticed an elderly man on a rooftop garden across the freeway. There was a convenience store on the bottom, what appeared to be an apartment on the second floor, and then the rooftop garden with a long, skinny tin-clad building, and some furniture protected by dingy-colored tarps. Then I saw the elderly man.
He was twirling a long, sturdy pole with a red flag attached at the top. My first thought was that he was practicing tai chi or another marshal art. But when I paid attention a bit longer I realized that he was steering the flock of birds. If he swung the pole to the right, the flock swooped to the right. If he reversed directions, so did the birds. I couldn’t believe anyone could communicate with another species so well, so I paid attention for several minutes and sure enough! The birds were following his signals.
After directing the birds a while longer the Bird Whisperer put his flagpole down. Suddenly about ½ of the birds lined up closely on the ledge of another apartment rooftop. The rest of the birds continued to circle. The circling group then proceeded to land on the roofline of the tin-clad building. The man opened the door at the end of this building and, one by one, the birds disappeared inside. Soon thereafter the group up on the rooftops descended and entered the tin building.
Do you think these were carrier pigeons? I mean, who has that kind of communication with a flock of birds? It was AMAZING. Today, at a college fair, I met with many Chinese parents who spoke little English. We tried to communicate, but whether we got through to one another is a mystery. As is how this gentleman communicated with a flock of birds.
Candace Chenoweth, Director
Center for Global Education