Bird Droppings January 17, 2012
I saw a Red Tailed Hawk
As I look at that statement it is meaningless for many, a red tailed hawk crossed my path as I traveled yesterday flying across the road landing in a tree. Behind our house since we moved in a pair of hawks has hunted the fields and hedge rows. For some there is significance as each sighting of a specific animal has meaning to them. I have had an affinity for red-tailed hawks for many years. By my desk at school and at home are tail feathers framed and even my daily meanderings, Bird Droppings is based on the idea that not all bird droppings are bad, a red tailed hawk feather as an example.
It has been a nearly six summers since I had the privilege to teach in our summer school program. We changed to a two day class time and do work sheets sort of intersession and the fun is gone. Actually it was a lot of fun back in the day as we surveyed the flora and fauna of the campus. On day one of class I asked how many plants were on the campus, meaning actual different kinds of plants. The answers ranged from ten to fifty.
“Truth does not become more true by virtue of the fact that the entire world agrees with it, nor less so even if the whole world disagrees with it.” Maimonides
That statement has significance in education and in politics today. As the summer school session went by we pressed and labeled over 100 different kinds of plants trees and shrubs all directly on the school campus and still had many more to go. So where is the significance to a red tailed hawk, really it is only one of several species of raptors in Georgia and it is not uncommon to be seen sitting along the road side quite often waiting on prey in cleared areas of easements and fields. However it has been nearly a month since I have seen one which is significant because I look for them. Much like my students until they looked, they really did not know how many plants were so close at hand.
I am also always amazed when we are looking too hard we miss what is in front of us. Yesterday I was not directly looking for a hawk and it appeared. A single second or two later and I would have missed it. Life is much like this as well. I have spent many hours looking for something simple and only have it be where I looked to begin with and did not see it.
I am not one to normally save an editorial page today I found one from many, many years ago that I had filed away. I happened to glance through the pages from the AJC (Atlanta Journal Constitution) and several editorials on one page caught my attention. One opinion was about sin tax proposed by the governor on cigarettes and alcohol which now legislators are looking for other ways to cut budget and not do good things like, green space purchased by state, layoff in the university system, and cuts in TANF. It was basically finding $400 million dollars of other ways to cut rather than tax cigarettes, it is so interesting how we think.
Across the page a short article on underage drinking and how 25% of alcohol is consumed by teenagers and interestingly alcohol tax and cigarette tax were both indirectly conceived as a means of cutting down teen consumption. It has been a few years since the state flag issue and it got an eighth of a page and several letters to the editor including a letter from a man inGriffinGeorgiaquoting Gandhi.
“Any country would prefer its own despot over a foreign controlled system no matter how benevolent that government might be” Mahatma Gandhi
This letter was in reference to our taking overIraqand the Gandhi quote was in reference toBritain’s takeover ofIndiaso many years ago. Now I recall why I saved these pages nearly eight years ago. There was also an interesting letter concerningFrance. “Francemight be the voice of reason”. Another headline read to the effect, “US States IRAQ compliance not the issue we will go to war it is only a matter of when”. I am rambling looking for red-tailed hawks and reading eight year old AJC editorials all in one sitting and still only three quotes for today.
I am concerned are we rational as we wake each morning and go about our days. We have been watching a war unfold and now refold which is really for most of us simply on the news, although numerous deaths have been hitting home daily. Still even though many of us know friends and family involved, it still is over there. Several days ago as I looked for a red tailed hawk and was frustrated because no matter how hard I looked I could not find one my son would see one and state dad a hawk and I would miss it. The hawks were there but for some reason I did not see it, I did not turn quick enough, or maybe it flew by and was gone. It was not until I stopped forcing the issue did the hawk appear. We can set lofty goals and seek to fulfill them, but so many times in our straining miss the accomplishments along the way.
Going back to that old newspaper there was Rose Kennedy’s quote that spoke of the moments versus the milestones. Several days back I used a phrase from a former professor at Eastern College Dr. Tony Campolo “CARPE DIEM”. It is the title to one of his books and is Latin for, seize the day. I was skeptical to use a quote with a religious twinge to it but C. S. Lewis is not a typical theologian so I may borrow a quote from Mr. Lewis.
“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.” C.S. Lewis
It is about the moment right now seize the day put aside the milestones and seize the moment. As I reread Lewis’s quote each time a different view, or understanding. Perhaps as I was looking for a hawk I missed the point until I stopped looking and in his words find the answer. Each day is a chance again to start anew, fresh as if we can begin again and ponder, think or seize the day, again and again. So for today CARPE DIEM and as always please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and please always give thanks.