Manage episode 266965149 series 2589859
This morning was just like every other morning. We were awoken around 4:30 to the sound of
Lucky, our rooster, crowing.
The crowing of a rooster at daybreak has been romanticized in movies and on TV. Oh, it sounds exactly as you expect, but that’s not the point. If it only happened once or twice it would be cute, even pleasantly earthy and rural. But there’s no off button or snooze setting on a rooster. Most mornings the crowing goes on and on. And trust me, the crow of a rooster is not a romantic song nor a lullaby. It is an alarm, designed to pierce the silence and arrest your attention.
Now, if Lucky were the lone rooster in our neighborhood we suspect his morning concerts would be shorter. But alas, he is not alone. If you listen carefully you can hear in the distance another rooster he is performing for, or more likely trying to out perform. He crows and waits for his challenger to answer, and then crows again. And so it goes, every morning. A repetitious loop of call and response that eventually ends, or rather gets interrupted. Eventually the growing volume of other awakening birds—songbirds, crows, finches, sparrows, mourning doves and the like—make it difficult to hear his duet partner, and then he gets distracted by the more immediate business of pride strutting through the garden and pretending to supervise as the hens get busy scratching and pecking for morning treats in the cool damp soil.
I say he pretends to supervise because the truth is our ladies got on quite well long before he came along and will do just fine for themselves long after he’s gone.
So what’s the point of a rooster? Roosters are important if the flock wants to reproduce and grow. I mean, someone has to fertilize those eggs or else they’re just eggs. And I suppose a rooster also provides a certain promise of protection. To his credit, Lucky will place himself between the girls and any perceived threat. Even if that perceived threat is me. And that, although stupid, is pretty ballsy because, let’s face it, even though he’s bigger than all the others, and has a couple of nasty leg horns on the back of his feet, he is, in the end, just a chicken.
So, if our chickens were living in the wild then Lucky’s role would be fairly significant. But here’s the thing. They don’t live in the wild. They live in an extremely safe and civilized chickeny paradise. And because of that, Lucky’s purpose falls somewhere between amusement and annoyance. Without a war to fight, warriors are out of place.
So what’s the lesson? Well, I think what I’ve learned from Lucky the rooster is in a civilized world testosterone is overrated, perhaps often counterproductive. Every day I see men strutting around with their chests puffed out, pretending to be in charge, and I think about Lucky, my little chicken, and I think, “I can do better than that, if I can just get through the day without being a such an ass.” It’s a humbling thought but the truth is, just like Lucky, I’m not really necessary. I’m just lucky to be here. So to all the men who are listening right now, to those warriors without a war, perhaps it’s best that we find other outlets for our energy.
Perhaps we can find a way to lead in a civilized world. But that leadership has to take the shape of the other things we’re capable of. Being responsible, compassionate, fun loving and filled with wonder. Being listeners and learners and explorers, creators and builders. A little less warlike and a little more childlike. A lot less hubris and a lot more humility.
I still have hope for men in the 21st century. I know it’s possible, because although it’s easy to fall back on the animal inside, we are not roosters. We can choose to rise above our biology and be what the world really needs us to be. We can either choose to revel in the art of war, or we can beat our swords into plowshares and get busy building ourselves a beautiful life.