Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Bird-Fancier

Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, 2007

    I was a bird-fancier when I was six or seven. I would hunt birds in two ways. In the summer I would use a sling. In the winter, I would dig a hole in the ground and put a little basket in it. I would cover the basket with a thread and put some bread crusts in it.
    Like the other children in the village, I did not have any toys. I would put the bird I caught in a little cage that I had made myself. The bird was not happy but I was. I had a toy to play with. After some time, I would free the bird and catch a new one to put it in the cage. I wanted a new toy.
    Summer was different. Summer was a time of competition. We had slings and we knew how to use them. I wanted to be respected as I was the youngest, the shortest, and I was a girl. I became the best slinger. I would always win. All my shots hit their mark. I was very proud of myself.
    I did not understand the difference between life and death then.