The Emperor’s New Clothes

I got up early for what I expected would be a rainy cold day at the refuge. I was not disappointed. I always wonder what the birds do in inclement weather. Turns out they do the exact same thing they do when it isn’t. 

Their song is no less cheerful. The branches, though dripping, are no less reliable and the business of their lives continues with it’s effortless forward motion. 

It was pouring when I arrived. I sat in my car for 15 minutes as I layered on my raingear and wrapped my camera in plastic and stuffed it into my backpack. Maybe I’d have photos today. Maybe not. Maybe today would be all about the walk. You know, the journey is the reward …

There is a newly constructed bald eagle nest very near the barns and boardwalk. It surprises me they would build a nest in such a heavily trafficked area, but what do I know ?  I saw the sleek tail feathers of an adult bald eagle standing guard just two feet away from the nest on a bare branch. This should be a wonderful vantage point from which to observe life unfolding in the spring. 

There was a Northern harrier in the tall copper grasses that flew out of the brush right in front of me and onto a post in the field. There it would wait for the hunt to reveal itself. They too, are patient creatures. Nothing compares to the Great Blue Heron, but the harrier quietly bides its time in a similar fashion. Waiting. Watching. Believing. 

The Great Horned Owl was buried back in the trees seeking solitude. Only someone who knows where to look might find him, and even then, it is from quite a safe distance away. Recharging and camouflaged perfectly in the trees, he is practicing a necessary stillness. 

Do you see him ?
How about now ?

I’m still waiting for some epiphany or painfully obvious metaphor for the state of things right now. Truly, I thought today must be full of them. The unwavering determination of the birds or the building of a nest in plain view. And then there was the way the rain let up for that window of time this morning defying all forecasts to the contrary. But I’m coming up empty. I’m sure there are metaphors to be had but mostly a thing is just what it is. Nothing more. 

There is a folk tale that has been with me these last two days. I haven’t been able to let it go for the life of me. It isn’t that it’s haunting or painfully accurate to the state of the world, but somewhere in that story is OUR story. A similar message. A clear moral. Repetive themes. Jumbled somewhere in the mix of this Hans Christian Anderson tale lies our stunning and simple truth. 

The Emperor’s New Clothes. A favorite of mine as a child. You can read it here

The moral could be “not letting pride keep us from speaking up when we know the truth”. But haven’t many of us been speaking that truth for years ? 

What also makes it an imperfect analogy is that in this story people would want to cast Trump in the role of Emperor. That isn’t how I see it. I see him clearly as the weaver(s). Or at best, a convoluted morphing of the two. The huckster, selling us a bill of goods. 

It’s all there though: deceit, ignorance, adulation, pride, greed, fear, hubris … madness. And at the heart of the story is a charismatic simpleton. Sound familiar ?

Soon enough we will be free of him. That’s actually the least of my worries now. (And right below that, is the riotous mob of “Duck Dynasty wanna be’s” who illegally occupied the nation’s capitol. The people’s house. 
Our house.)

I’m more restless and unsure about the 70,000,000 people who actually picked this man to lead them into the future. How embarrassing it must be to have followed this false god to the edge of all that is rational. It was always going to end this way though. There was always either the leap to the other side or the abyss.  

So, no metaphors for me. 

Today I’ll just share that it was a lovely morning to walk and to breathe deeply. It was a good morning to get soaked and to hear the birds singing as though nothing else much mattered. I was glad to see the new nest and grateful that I know where to look for that owl. Today it felt good to run my fingers along the rail, catch reflections on the boardwalk and know what a safe space feels like. 

All good things. 
And the world spins madly on …

10 Comments on “The Emperor’s New Clothes

  1. Yes, it is frustrating not to be able to figure things out and feel confident we know why things happen. But like your approach. Go out and look at the beauty of the world. Love that last photo of the road.

    • Some days it feels like a waking nightmare. If I didn’t have my walks, surely I’d go crazy. Thanks for writing. Stay safe.

    • I love your reflections-both pictures and words! Found your post thru the AAA magazine. Thank you for sharing your photos and thoughts with us!!

      And my thoughts dart here and there in this pivotal moment for our country. I will try to take a cue from nature….!

      • I love that you found me through Journey magazine. Thanks for the kind words and for following me here. I hope to have an adventurous spring and it will be nice to have you along for the ride. Yep, nature is our best medicine right now. Cheers to better days. 

  2. My mind still whirls too. We’ve given away all that so many men and women had to be proud of, feel valued, and be included – It’s time for change.

  3. “…practicing a necessary stillness.” It’s a beautiful phrase, Bonnie Rae.

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