From: shan lung <shanlung9@y...>
Date: Thu Dec 11, 2003
Subject: continuation of 'Bird whisperer of TsaoLing'.
So sorry again that it took me so long to respond
until you probably forgot what you wrote or asked me
about. Its one of those things that work can bury
you beyond your eyeballs that you have so little
energy left that one can only lurk. I kind of
suspected it which was why the last report I made was
a day after those events at Tsaoling instead of my
usual 4-5 days after. I wrote about the key events
hoping to continue the rest (which was an embarassment
to me that you will see later) a couple of days later
which stretches to 3 weeks now.
But first, I thank all who wrote nice things about my
articles and I am sorry I am unable to reply
individually as I wanted to.
Tana went one stage beyond expressing her opinion that
I should be paid. That is a wonder to me as I am
thankful enough that the owners of the three lists I
subscribed to have been rather patient and not thrown
me out yet. I have been a bit paranoid about being
chucked out ever since a guy demanded to be un-subbed
just after I send a long rambling letter much earlier
Roberta in CA wondered if I am not worried about
raptors. For those not in freeflight, I can say a
high percentage of the mails will be on raptors giving
us warning enough. In addition, in Taiwan, the jungle
crows are enormous and big eagles and kites are often
seen drifting high above and there have been times I
decided Tink go back into the travelling cage instead
of riding on the handlebar. Not only that, I am even
paranoid of pigeons and pigeon size birds as will be
clearer in next few paragraph.
Jim Dawson wondered why I not dispense with the
harness altogether and let Tink fly free.
In Tinks home page in my signature, you will find
accounts of how Tink got to fly, and semi free fly in
big building and finally getting to the vast open to
fly. Have you seen your fid flying off to become a
grey speck before disappearing in the haze? I have,
and that feeling is undescripable.
During that free flight, Tink joined up with what I
suspect to be some pigeons after an initial spook and
one of those pigeon size bird nearly pecked out
Tinkerbell's eye. Tink flew off in panic. The world
from that point became a surrealistic matrix where in
intense inner pain, I did not have the luxury to feel
miserable but have to struggle to marshall all I knew
to hunt Tink back and where I aged ten years in that
couple of days.
I wrote half jokingly that Tinkerbell will fly free
only if she can tell me in one hundred words why I
should let her that my wife read. My wife planted
herself firmly in front of that barn door now and
insist she will decide if those hundred words are
sincere and trusted enough before that harness can be
Taiwan is also a hauntingly beautiful country with so
many nooks and corner to immerse yourself in. I love
to explore and I never will be in a place sufficiently
often enough for Tinkerbell to be accustomed to. That
is a prime requisite for free flying that will never
be met and that provided she can convince my wife. (I
will take that harness off if she tells me ' Daddy,
please let me free fly' even if that is less than 100
With that harness on, Tink joins us in almost all our
explorations. She is constantly exposed to new
environment and people and is gaining the confidence
and self-assurance that may prevent her from badly
spooking in the future.
More important, that harness will continue to keep
Tinkerbell safe, especially from my stupidity as you
But back to the continuation of 'Bird whisperer of
If you look at the first photo and at about 10 oclock
from that Zen temple, you can see faintly a bridge
near the floor of the gorge. For an idea of scale,
that bridge is about 400 meters long.
The next morning, we decided to continue with as much
exploration as is possible with half tank petrol, no
petrol station, and a re-climb out over the mountain
As we went down to that bridge, I saw a bypass little
road that lead under that bridge to the floor of that
gorge. It opened out into such a wide vista that I
thought I try to induce Tink to do a harnessed
That road lead to a track which lead to this shack in
the middle of a big nowhere selling drinks to people
who come along that way to yet more sights. I wasn't
interested in the sights, and much more fascinated
that without trees and in such a big area, I can
finally try that 'fly fly fly' with Tink in the open.
Stopping that bike, I took out that sawned off fishing
rod I talked about, fitted the reel of line and walked
to check out the area with Tink on my shoulder.
A small little 2 year old toddler came and stick to me
like a bloody limpet. When I placed Tink on a rock to
do a simple recall, she walked over to Tink upsetting
me. I got Tink to step up and tried another area to
be followed by that little girl.
I then got up on the bike to ride another 50 meters
away but still the girl came.
I looked in the distant to see what I saw as little
brooks winding among cobble stones with a vast area of
pampas grass before the mountain start to rise again.
Tinkerbell was on my left arm with my right hand
holding the reel holder. With the beauty and the
euphoria of that place, I felt certain in my mind that
it was time to try that flyabout.
With that conviction, I look into the distant
visualising Tinkerbell flight will take her in a long
loop before descending back to me to give me a loving
nibble on the ear.
I rolled my left hand and told Tink ' fly fly fly'. I
was gratified to see her take off and wing away with
powerful beats. That reel holder worked like a charm
and the reel just unrolled itself paying out the line.
I transfered the holder to my left hand.
Tink was getting smaller and smaller and I looked with
alarm that the 100 M line was considerably diminished.
I thought I better give some drag and decided to hold
the line with my right hand.
It was with some disquiet that Tink did not even
noticed my holding the line continue to fly away.
Then I felt something burning. The pain which hit my
finger was so intense that I looked first to the
ground expecting to see my finger joint to be there
twitching away like a dropped off lizard tail. I then
looked at my hand surprised to see that joint still
attached to my finger.
The scream I gave may have scared away everything that
can fly. That was followed by the richest most
colorful words of many languages in my vocabulary. But
apparently that did not frighten that little girl who
looked at me with eyes opened in astonishment.
Tink may have been turning back, but in that
confusion and pain, I grapped the reel, walked a step
and stumble on a stone. My last view of Tink was that
she was turning, line caught in a pampas grass, and
I thought suddenly of wild cats, monitor lizards, T
Rexs and all other carnivourous creatures real and
imagined making their way to sweet succulent Tink.
The brooks I saw turn out to be bloody rivers and
small cobble stones turn out to be head size rocks I
got to clamber and twist my feet and ankle on running
and hopping to poor Tink in the middle of thick
overhead pampas grass following the line.
With Tink safely back on my shoulder and the line
wound up, a much sorrier me went back to the bike and
left that field of unmitigated disaster.
Again with my infallible hindsight, I knew I did
'Fly fly fly' as a cue was tried once only at home
unsucessfully. Tink flew straight to her tower
instead of circling the room that time.
Even in normal routine flights at the school or
anywhere, I always tested Tink with treat and short
2-5 meters recalls first.
Before that, I always give her 5-10 minutes of
checking around and getting use to that place.
I forgot all of that! In my bloody euphoria at seeing
that huge plain, I forgot Tink may have different
I never realised a 400 gram girl can pull a line that
I let myself be spooked by a two year old toddler to
the extent I forgot all the stuff I had been
pontificating over here to pay a price of a burned
finger and free education of that little girl of all
the swear and curse words of at least 3 languages.
Luckily, Tink was on harness and will remain to be as
a reminder of my own inate stupidity.
'Fly fly fly' will not be attempted again in the open
until I get Tink to do that flyabout at home.
On that note, I still continued with that 'fly fly
fly' which Tink interpret as doing more and more
fantastic flying aerobics at home. She does anything
from two twisty circuit of the room, flying a round,
reversing her direction to fly another round, zooming
me and winging me softly, flying to corner to dart up
and dived down as if drawing a twisted Klien bottle to
circle the room.
Her cued 'fly fly fly' from my hand still have her
going in a bloody straight line to the stupid parrot
I thought I finish that episode for the record.
This coming weekend is lenghtened by time off on
Monday and Tuesday and should see us in a hotspring
complex at ChiPeng on the East coast of Taiwan.
Provided that place still exist after the 6.6 Richter
earthquake that struck that area yesterday at noon.
Enough of that energy went through the massive
mountain range to hit Chiayi with a 4 Richter.
No lack of excitment in Taiwan :-)
With warmest regards
Joy - wife, Tinkerbell - CAG & surrogate daughter
earlier emails and photo links on Tink -