Tortoise Not The Hare


Or cranes. Or storks. Or falling stars.

Or cranes. Or storks. Or falling stars.

I happened to be surfing the Vimeo Staff Picks page the other day when I happened across this short inspirational video: “Accelerate: Be The Tortoise, Not The Hare”. Being a tortoise kind of person to begin with I was not surprised to find that the message spoke to me, but being a tortoise in a hare world is a tough and frustrating race to run: there will always be somebody ahead of you and there will always be things left undone. It’s good to get a reminder that it’s OK to slow down.

Today was definitely a tortoise sort of day. The morning’s To Do list was two columns long before I even had breakfast and I knew that I probably wouldn’t get to half of it, but I wanted to at least lay it out as a plan in front of me. True to my expectations, I didn’t cross off as many items as I’d hoped, but darnit the things I did get around to I did right. Stop and do it right. Right? Clean the room first, then decorate it. Stop ignoring the stains on the carpet. Clean the power head of the vacuum cleaner.

Even on a Tortoise day I still made it out for a run. After my last, frustrating, painful attempt to run I was pretty intimidated to put on the running shoes and get out the door, but it was on the list so I did it. It went well, which was a relief: I didn’t push it, just went at whatever speed felt right and it was OK.

As I was on the final leg of my route I happened to notice a large formation of birds in the sky. At first I thought that they were a gathering of seagulls which seemed just out of place enough to make me take a closer look. Then I realized that it wasn’t the normal wheeling and  hovering of seagulls scoping out a snack, but was actually a formation: not quite a V, but somewhere in the family of a W. Perhaps they were geese? I realized that I hadn’t seen geese migrating since I moved to the west coast. Migrating geese: one of the most ubiquitous signals of fall in the Chicagoland area suddenly made notable in it’s absence by this formation I was watching.

But no. It wasn’t geese. I’m pretty sure it was storks.Maybe cranes.  I’m not 100% certain on this, but it was a group of maybe fifteen large white birds with long beaks. They kept a loose formation but without the precision of a geese’s (goose’s?) flock and they were headed west and a little bit south towards the setting sun and the coast. I stopped to watch them fly overhead.

As if having an unusual bird sighting wasn’t enough, I later looked up into the sky as I was turning in a bunch of recycling to see a falling star. It was a quick streak in the sky and then it was gone, but it was fun to catch a glimpse of it. I can’t help but think that these sightings were signs that it is sometimes worth slowing down and looking up just for the sake of seeing interesting things. As someone who has kept her head down to power forward for the past five months it is a welcome reminder that there is more out there that is worth seeing.

It’s ok to be the tortoise, not the hare.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on December 19, 2014.

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