Maybe it was just my harsh teenage filter, but I remember a few teachers in high school that seemed done before the first day. Guys that seemed better suited to a bad game of golf or maybe a nap. Guys that whoever was in charge should have put out to pasture, but for some reason that wasn’t possible.
Twelve years ago, when I shifted to a career in teaching, I remember a feeling of gravity and thinking that if I was going to take this on that I couldn’t let that happen. Above all else, I didn’t want to end up like those guys. No, I wouldn’t be like them. I’d get out while I was still sharp, while I was still effective, while I was still in the game!
This milk was going to watch itself and dump itself out before the expiration date!
My vigilance increased a bit last year as I entered my second half-century….am I still sharp? Do I still have it? Can I still hit the mark?
Recently there were some worrying symptoms as I collected eggs from our chickens in the afternoon. I collect the eggs and put them in a corner while I finish the rest of the chores. I’ll often take a cursory count of the eggs as I collect them, offering some motivational words if the count seems low for the time of year.
One day last week I collected what I thought was a five-count and went about my chores. I came back to four eggs and thought, “huh, that’s weird, I thought there were five…but maybe the five was from yesterday…oh well, never mind…no big deal”
The next day I collected three and came back to two. “Okay what the heck is going on here! Is this it for me? Am I done? Damn it, I can’t even count anymore!” I planned to bring a post-it the next day and document the initial count for comparison to the final enumeration.
The next day I came to the coop, armed with my post-it and pencil, ready to get the numbers right! Just as I arrived, I noticed a crow (pictured above) also arrived and perched on a shed nearby. We’ve got lots of crows around this place, so I didn’t think much of it at first. But this crow was different. He was watching my every move, studying me, calculating, it was creepy.
Suddenly I put two and two together (and by god, I got four!). This crow had been playing me for two days, stealing an egg when my back was turned. He knew my schedule, he knew my habits, he knew my timing, and he was back to play again!
Well, I’m on to you Mr. Crow! And I’ve beat you at a game of your creation!
You are smart, but I am smarter than you!
I’m still sharp! I still have it! and I can still hit the mark!
Today I got validated by a crow. Today I am good.