Day to Day

The Bird Gets the Worm

It has nothing to do with how early it rises. The early bird catches the worm and the late bird also catches the worm because there’s more than one worm.

I’m all about hard work, but all I’m saying is, I just saw a bird the other day at around 6:00 PM catch two worms. Not one, but two. It didn’t even have any competition. No other birds on that grass to contend with. In its majestic solitude it hopped around on the lawn and buried its beak in the blades of grass from time to time to pull out its feast. No early rising, no problem.

My friend and I were seated on the lawn next door to this bird having a conversation about job searching– the absurdities of cover letters, the challenging job market, and the balancing act of a life in between things. It wasn’t until almost 24 hours after seeing the bird get its worms and the good conversation that the old adage and the parallels that it had with the job search occurred to me.

But, the adage is wrong.

The bird didn’t get worms because it got up early, it got worms because its a bird, and that’s what birds do. Sure, the bird had to be out there to get the worm, but it did it when it was good and ready and it did it with confidence and self-respect. It knew what it wanted, figured out how best to get it, and executed its plan. And it probably got to sleep in a little while it was at it. (Birds sleep, right? Otherwise this metaphor is shot).

The point is, the bird gets the worm because it’s a bird and it does what it does.

Be a bird. Do what you do. Get your worm.

Categories: Day to Day, Short and Sweet, What's a Metaphor? | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Don’t Get Off the Train

The trains in Chicago are all screwy. Construction is happening and they rarely seem to go where they’re supposed to. It’s a lesson in letting go of control, or admitting that I never had control to begin with; a lesson in letting the mystery be– the primary theme of my life in between. But this is not about that.

Today on my train-ride downtown there was a man on the phone. While he was on the phone telling the person on the other end, “I’ll be there in 20 minutes,” he missed the announcement that the train would be rerouted, getting us close enough to where we needed to go, but not making the usual stops. At the first stop not along the usual route, he got confused and/or scared and immediately ran off the train. The doors closed and I looked out the window to see him say, “Shit!” (I can read lips, but only when people are swearing). I’ll admit, I laughed a little at his misfortune, but then thought to myself, there’s got to be a metaphor somewhere in this. And there is.

Pay attention and try not to get confused, but in the likely chance that you do, don’t get off the train. Stay on. Figure it out. Make an informed decision. And maybe you get off the train down the line, but acting rashly is foolish. Chances are, you are okay. Stay on that train.

Categories: Day to Day, Public Transportation, Short and Sweet, the Human Condition, What's a Metaphor? | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

On Letting the Mystery Be

Like the child of a music-loving family that I am, I often can trace my ideas about life to one song or another. I remember when we got our first household CD player, one of the first CDs that we owned was Iris DeMent’s “Infamous Angel”. A momentous occasion, it is no wonder that I remember so fondly the track, “Let the Mystery Be.”

While she sings specifically about the existential questions of life– Why are we here? What will happen to us when we die?— and her willingness to succumb to the reality that she will never truly know, I have taken the title of the song as a personal challenge in all things.

I found myself one day thinking about the perfect mixed CD and how much this form of musical sharing means to me. I began to dissect what it is that makes a mix a good one. Song selection, balance, placement, subject matter… But then, it occurred to me: part of what makes a mix good is the magic behind it, the not knowing. So I guess I should just let the mystery be.

Now, three months away from my graduation from grad school, I find myself often asking the question, “What’s next?” and the planner in me is running around in circles with arms waving in the air and screaming. I have to know what is going to happen. There are so many questions left unanswered, but, almost as if mocking me, the one answer that remains constant is “Let the mystery be.”

Perhaps, just like the mixed CD, if I were ever to know what the future held, it would take away from the magic and wonder of it all. So I suppose I’ll choose to let the mystery be.

Categories: Day to Day, Family, Look at Me, I'm Growing!, Mere Musings, Short and Sweet, the Human Condition, What's a Metaphor? | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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