Now entering the Groundhog Day phase of the shutdown I sit talking to my dog while drinking coffee in the early morning. The valley is gray and the spring rains have returned. The lettuce thrives and the tomatoes droop. Yesterday was placing pipe in the trench dug Friday. Today I eat to soften the ibuprofen edge.
During the course of this conversation my dog mentions as she is still without opposable thumbs she will need some help getting the door open. Letting her out to the backyard I see the swallow still building a nest. It is hard to miss as he takes each twig and circles the yard lazily two or three times. It has to be a mating display, “Look at this fine nest I am building. It will be perfect for your family”. He has no bright plumage, nor does he sit and sing beautiful music. Instead he builds and just makes sure everyone sees him do it. It is a “humble brag” certainly but a good one.
These are the same birds that flit in the evening air and eat mosquitoes performing acrobatics in the yard until the bats come out to continue the harvest. I love the finches and wrens with their vibrant plumage and sweet songs. But I admire the swallow that flies so well and builds it’s nest without restraint.
. My friend Lundy used to say “if you can’t be handsome you can at least be handy” which is pretty much my byline these days. So my advice when frustrated is to find some small thing you can do, and go do that. Give your failures room to breath before returning to them. Success begets success sometimes and nothing is harder to sleep on than a vexing dilemma.
“You are what you do.” As my Grandfather used to say. And he was a pretty smart guy. If I have a regret it is that I didn’t listen more to him when he was still around to talk to.