Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Hall of Mirrors

I was sitting at work diligently doing what it is that I do, because I'm efficient like that, when I was interrupted by a loud 'thud' at the window. Now, I'm used to noise at work. Next door a large commercial building is under way. So to hear the roar of the crane's engine, the crash of metal beams, or the occasional foreman's yell was not unusual; but this noise startled me. I looked up just in time to see a disoriented bird retreating from his encounter with the window to a nearby tree. Wow, I thought, what a dumb bird to run into a window like that. That was the end of my thoughts.

Later, I was walking around the building and noticed that most of the windows had dusted impressions left on them from where birds had come in devastating contact with them; like chalk lines telling the 'where' but not the 'why' or 'when'. I stepped back and looked at the building again. The windows are of the standard commercial type that resemble mirrors during the day. So, it wasn't that the bird was just dumb (even though the brain power of simple fowl may be debatable) but rather that he did not know that the window was not what it seemed. To him, it was open space extending into the sky; another path to where he was going; visually unobstructed.

Life is a hall of mirrors. It is that feeling when you are going along in life thinking that where you see ahead of you is where you are going; and that the way to get there is by following the path that you are on. But every once in a while, you hit a mirror. Just like the bird who is stopped dead in its tracks, stunned by what had occurred, you go from 60 to 0. But then what? Do you examine the mirror to try to understand if it is real, why it is there, and what it means or do you turn another direction and continue your journey? I envy the person who can turn and continue in a new direction at the same pace. I feel that after the first 'smack' of a life mirror, one is more likely to proceed cautiously as to minimize the pain and/or embarrassment should they run into another mirror in the future. Optimism is the key, I think; glass half-full and all that.

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