OpEd, Politics

How do woodpeckers avoid brain injuries with such a knock?

The wild is an interesting place to visit once in a while and if you have never been there, it will take you years to know the wonders of nature. In the wild, you meet big and small animals all with different sets of problems.

You get small animals with big problems and bigger ones with little problems. The wild is really wild, to an extent where big animals become part of the problem.

Every animal has its own cross to carry. Some are lucky and others are not. Most don’t live that long. Few live long but in the end; they can’t find the meaning of life. No monkey has ever celebrated its birthday because most, if not all, are not aware of their existence. It all goes down to doing one thing, living to eat and hide from an enemy.

There is no friendship in the wild. Everyone is your enemy, and your chances of survival are determined by how you outrun your enemy. If your leg gets broken in the process, you will not run again, you know what that one means, you will be someone’s dinner. Hurts when you are resting comfortably inside the cave and a disaster fall from the sky; you are pulled out of your comfort zone and eaten up. That is how it is for most animals.  They don’t plan for tomorrow because you can easily be killed at night.  So, sad that you don’t even enjoy your sleep, always on standby, ready to run anytime, after something or from something.

In the wild, you are always chased by something bigger and stronger than yourself. If a fly sees a frog, it must run faster or else it would be swallowed. It can take millions of flies to chase one frog. If a frog comes across a snake, it must call home straight away, to inform its family that he won’t be home, it would be the last time to ever hear from him again because he would be killed.

The family should just move on and do so as if he has never existed before because they too will go the same way one day.  If that frog survives, it will stop eating flies for the rest of its life. But chances of survival there are very rare.

The same goes for birds. The wild has seen a number of birds over the years. There are those that can fly. There are those that can’t fly too. For these ones, life begins when they really need wings to fly, when the predators hunt them. They learn that not everyone without a wing is a friend.

For the birds that can fly, life ends when they go in search of worms to eat, and they are eaten instead. There are times when it is helpless to fly higher. Sometimes you are just lucky. Some other times, you are not.

In the wild, one of the birds that stand out is the woodpecker (tuek-twek). This bird lives a life of hard knock and I used to wonder how they survived the school of hard knock.  If you think life is hard, you haven’t seen a woodpecker.

How do they really manage? If for example, I slammed my mouth against a tree over and over again, even if for two minutes, I would sustain serious brain damage or if I am lucky, I would lose my front teeth and no girl will ever laugh with me. The good thing is that I’m not a woodpecker. For the woodpecker, it is just normal.

And if you don’t know, the woodpecker makes its living by pounding its beak into trees 12,000 times a day. The life of this little bird revolves around slamming their heads against something hard. Living hard to survive is a simple summary of its life.  Whether it is in search of an insect to eat or excavating a space to build its territory where they can start a family, the pecker has just one simple solution, bangs its head against a tree at a very high speed.

How does this little bird bash its head against so repeatedly, with such force, without significant brain damage? Do they really have to target trees weakened by frugal decay or is there something special about these birds?

It is true that these birds live hard, but they find joy in pecking. If you bring a woodpecker to a city where there are no trees, it will die because it lives by pecking.  Pecking can really be so hard, but this bird finds happiness in it. Find something hard and devote your life to doing it.

The average woodpecker lives for close to four years.  Sometimes it can be less than that, but the woodpecker lives its day as if it was its last. The rest of the animals have their own ways of handling their own problems.

For example, the big animals are not aware of the tiniest animals and the smallest ones don’t even care to know what is going on in the world. They just want to eat. The world is too big for big animals to matter in it and of course, life is too short for a rat to dream to be an elephant and equally a waste of time for a monkey to think that it will be a human one-day.

Don’t force life. It is okay to accept where life has placed you and go with everything that comes with it, the joy and pain.

Welcome to the wild once again. We have the fastest animals here and also the slowest around. Some of these animals are happy and others are sad. The lion, with its strength, is not always happy and doesn’t live long because all that it will ever see in his life is death and the blood of others.

The lion kills to live and lives to kill, even though he is the richest and powerful animal, that lifestyle alone is enough to make him sad, not to enjoy his riches. Don’t admire the rich to conclude that you are nothing; they also have their own problems. And don’t also compare because you will end up being frustrated with your life.

When nature blesses you with everything, it will not give you the ability to see how lucky you are to have enough.  A tortoise is happier than the lion and also lives long. It is rewarding to be slow sometimes especially when you know where you are heading. You know, you are not in competition with anyone.

You know tortoise and how slow it is, it will take him time to cross the road, but it is not always in a rush, in the end, he will cross the road and if it was knocked by a speeding car, maybe that is how it was made to end.  Life happens, let go if it doesn’t work. You are always not the first and equally not the last.

Today, go home and try to find the woodpecker in you. Appreciate that woodpecker, it is hard, but you find happiness in doing so. If you are a tortoise, you are slow, but you will get there. My prayer is that a speeding car does not knock you down when you are crossing to the other side. And if you are a lion, you should stop being greedy because you have got more than enough.  Now, I don’t have much to say, peace.


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