Lessons from the spotted flycatcher

There he was, perched upright and still on a small jutting branch of a conifer. Then he suddenly darted downward, almost to the ground, and returned in triumph with an insect in his beak. Periodically he repeated the sally. A lively small bird, the spotted flycatcher. But he isn't noticeably spotted (only the young are); his neat brown plumage suits his activities better.

Here were lessons to be learned. The bird had a surprising brightness of eye, and he perched upright and ready. Here surely was alertness. Here too was confidence; he knew his capabilities, and he unhesitatingly relied on them. He never missed an insect while I was watching; but whenever he does fail in his swoop, it doesn't worry him. He just tries again. Here undoubtedly was the lesson of persistence.

Never too old
October 2, 1978

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