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A Wandering Phainopepla and Bilbo Baggins

November 25th, 2009 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, could it be that the magic formula for happiness and self-fulfillment is as simple as learning to be in harmony with our little corner of the world? It suddenly seems that way to me.

For the last couple of weeks a bird called a Phainopepla has been hanging around a neighbourhood here in Brampton. Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard the name. This intrepid, winged traveler is about 2,100 miles from where he ought to be. His normal range is Mexico and the southwestern edge of the U.S.

This phenomenon happens now and then in the ornithological world. A bird shows up somewhere it would never be expected to appear. I don’t think anyone really knows why. We just assume that something has gone haywire with the bird’s internal compass. Perhaps a short circuit in its instincts or an avian version of temporary insanity.

But I like to think that the Phainopepla has a little bit of Tolkien’s Bilbo Baggins in him. One day he decided on the spur of the moment: I feel like an adventure. I think I’ll throw caution to the wind and go visit that place called Canada. I’ve heard tell of it from the birds that migrate through here every spring and fall. It’s a heck of a long ways from here but I’m up for it.

And so his wanderlust sent him on a cross continent excursion all the way to Brampton. Apparently he finds it to his liking since he has hung around for some time while birdwatchers flock to the area to get him for their Canadian list. Amazingly, he seems to be taking his status as a sudden celebrity in stride. All the commotion around him hasn’t fazed him one bit.

Eventually, however, he’ll begin to feel a longing for home. I’ve quite enjoyed being here. But it’s getting rather colder than I expected. And I miss flitting about with others of my species. It’s been a grand adventure but I think it’s time to go back where I belong.

We’ll all miss the Phainopepla where he strikes out on the journey back to his shire. But hopefully we’ll have learned from the metaphor he personified for us. It’s healthy to strike out on an adventure now and then. But eventually we must retrace our steps and make our peace with the little corner of the world we call home.

We all have a shire even if we haven’t found it yet. If there is a magic formula to happiness, finding our heart’s desire there may well be it.

Did you enjoy this posting? If so, I invite you to subscribe to “Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm” at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the “Subscribe to this Blog: “How To” instructions page in the right sidebar.

Michael Robert Dyet is the author of “Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel”. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

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