Thursday, April 9, 2009

Two Lessons from Birds

We call him "tappy." For the past several years a pair of cardinals have lived in our yard and every spring the male goes a little nuts. We have a high window in our room that isn't curtained and every spring morning between 7:00 and 8:00, Tappy shows up to defend his territory against the brightly colored foe in the window. There must be something about the clarity of his reflection that time of day because it is the only time of day he does it.

For 30 minutes to an hour, he tries various of angles of flight to finally defeat his daily foe. He pecks at the guy in the glass until he just can't go on, then rests for a few minutes on the window ledge to recover. Then back again over and over until the sun moves and his enemy disappears.

Albert Einstein is credited with defining insanity as "doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome." I notice that I am a lot like the cardinal, banging my head against the same wall over and over, magically expecting things to turn out differently. And often the enemy I'm fighting is only in my head.

Yesterday, I was pausing at a traffic light and noticed a bird in the grass just a few feet from the freeway. As the cars and trucks zoomed by he was slowly and carefully enjoying the fruits of earth. It was a beautiful spring day. Occasionally he'd lift his head and gaze in a direction while he slowly ate. I watched the light breeze ruffle the feathers on his head. It could have been my imagination, but he looked serene. He had to have known about the traffic whizzing by, but chose to remain oblivious to it, focused on the task at hand.

I am challenged, at times, to focus on what I'm doing and not to get all wrapped up in all that is going on around me. Moreover, I am learning to take time to enjoy the beautiful day while going forward with whatever I'm working on.

So notice what your limits are, take time to let the breeze ruffle your feathers, and have a beautiful weekend.

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