Bird on Foot

Posted on October 26, 2004 by Jenna

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Fire. Ash. Silence. Wind. And footsteps, in the desert, of a baby bird that has not learned to fly.

The baby bird wanders. The baby bird finds a strange thing. The baby bird looks at the thing.

“Are you my mother?” the baby bird asks.

“No,” says the first habit of highly effective people. “I’m an exhortation to be proactive.”

“Oh,” says the baby bird.

The baby bird wanders on. The baby bird sees a vision of herself back in the nest, receiving delicious regurgitated worm parts from her mother’s mouth. Visions like this are often found in deserts or in the minds of baby birds who have consumed too much absinthe.

“Are you my mother?” the baby bird asks, just to make sure.

“No,” says the second habit of highly effective people. “I’m encouraging you to start with the end in mind. If you don’t have a clear sense of what you’re looking for, how can you find it?”

“These tasty regurgitated worm parts are just a strategic projection?” the baby bird asks. Her illusions have been shattered.

“Yes,” says the second habit.

The baby bird walks on. The baby bird encounters what looks like the first habit all over again, but isn’t.

“Are you my mother?” she asks.

“No,” says the third habit of highly effective people. “I’m the importance of the process of proceeding through things in order!”

“But I’ve already implemented this part of the process,” the bird says.

“It was premature,” sulks the third habit. “It doesn’t count.”

The baby bird wanders on. The baby bird sees a vision of a cuckoo.

“Are you my mother?” she asks.

The cuckoo looks cagey. “What’s in it for me?”

“I’d be your child,” the baby bird says. “Everybody wins!”

“That’s good win-win thinking,” says the fourth habit of highly effective people, which approves of scenarios in which everybody wins. “But I’m afraid I’m not your mother.”

The baby bird considers. “You could pretend,” she points out.

“It would look confusing in the list,” the fourth habit notes. “I mean, really, going from ‘put first things first’ to ‘the baby bird’s mother’, and then on to ‘seek first to understand?’ That would confuse people.”

“It would,” the baby bird mourns.

She wanders on. She wanders in the desert for many years.

“Are you my mother?” the bird asks. She’s not a baby any more.

“What do you mean by that?” answers the fifth habit.

“Well,” says the bird, “I’m looking for my mother.”

The bird has grown lean and hard in her years of wandering. The fifth habit is somewhat intimidated by her beady glare.

“No,” says the fifth habit. “I’m not your mother. I think I saw her, somewhere to the east, though.”

“Good,” says the bird, and stalks on.

The bird encounters a synergize. The bird looks it up and down.

“Are you my mother?” she asks.

“No,” says the synergize. “I’m a synergize.”

“Ah,” says the bird. It eats the synergize. It’s yummy. The bird moves on.

In the mountains at the desert’s edge, staring into the dawn, the bird comes to understand that she is an adult.

“The child has become the mother,” she says. “Now I must find a mate.”

“You are a phoenix,” notes the seventh habit of highly effective people. “No sex for you.”

“Alas,” the bird says, and ignites.