Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction posted September 1, 2012


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The Circle of Life

by jaydub99

A day almost finished. A summer evening that had yet to be written. I sat inertly on the couch and tried to wrap my mind around a plan. Should I mix a drink and enter the world of mindless television? The biography of Doc Holliday awaited upstairs on my bedside table. Perhaps a long walk with the dogs would be a nice sojourn. I just didn't know what sounded like the right idea. I was swimming in a contented lack of motivation.

I heard a thump. Not a loud thump but a soft, clumsy thump. It seemed to be coming from my front bay window. I assumed the kid next door had hurled a Frisbee or the unwanted end of a hoagie sandwich. Maybe a paper flyer asking for my painting business had been delivered. I walked to the door to check it out.

As I approached, I heard the sounds of what seemed like hundreds of birds squawking and chirping. Shrill. Excited. Chaotic. I paused to peer out the window and I saw black starlings teeming outside my door. They were hanging in the air about five feet from the ground and in constant motion. Hundreds of them swirling and hovering. I looked out the window seeking an answer. There on my door mat was a red tailed hawk. It was a massive creature in comparison to the starlings. A true Bird of Prey. It was powerful and had a no-nonsense, machine like aura about it. Beautiful red plumage and a slicked back look. Majestic and honored, he reminded me of one of those young, arrogant European Princes that caused bother from behind the cloak of diplomatic immunity. He had one of the starlings pinned on my welcome mat, talons digging in. The starling had tiny circles of lidless, red eyes and appeared startled and frantic as I looked at him. The glass was the only thing between us and it was only inches thick. The Hawk dug in and was oblivious to the other birds swooping, dive bombing, and frantically screaming for the release of their friend. The Hawk opened up its wings and with baggage secured, lifted off into the air like a Harrier jump jet. Some of the other birds followed, squawking and trying to interfere. Several of the others just stayed put or flew off. The hawk swooped around a tree and was gone from sight.

I have been the Hawk. I have dominated and manipulated others. I have been unphased by the verbal attacks and physical attempts of those who would try and stop me. I have heard the frantic pleas, the sense of power...of control. I have taken what I wanted because I could and selfishly met my needs. I have justified and rationalized my place in the food chain. Unlike the beast, I have tried to temper these things with human emotion and compassion but have not always been successful.

I have been the starling, pinned to the ground and helpless. Unprepared for the attack, I have been hit by a metaphorical freight train. As another entity decided what their will would unfold, I could not do anything to change the situation. My fate has been decided by others with no regard for my feelings or desires. I have felt like I had no control. I have felt helpless. I have felt weak.

I have been the other birds, the bystanders. I have been the bird that was incensed that one of my own was being attacked and fought to protect them. I have tried to rally support from the masses and been frustrated by their bystander apathy. I have been helpless to do anything but watch, and later felt crushing guilt that I did nothing. I have felt empathy for the victim yet secretly glad it was not me that was under siege. I have watched the Hawk take what was mine and wished I could have stopped him.

In the end it is all a balance as we waddle through life. The circle of life can be harsh and cold but it operates within its own rules of engagement. We are all animals but we also possess that extra something that separates us from the kingdom of beasts. As I stood in the doorway, I decided that this conversation might take a while. I ended up spending a good portion of the night thinking about that extra something that separates us from animals and how do I get more of it in my life.




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I am new to this site and am eager to share what I have been writing. This is a true account and my efforts to put it into perspective. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
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