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Time to Dry Your Wings!

Updated: Feb 19, 2023

The other day, I arrived at the doctor’s office to be told by the receptionist that they were running ‘a little bit late’. Okay, I had a good book; a few minutes extra of waiting was not a big deal. When the next person checked in at reception I was surprised to hear that they were in fact running two hours late! The woman grumbled but sat down to wait with the rest of us in the already full waiting room.

Before I opened my book I checked my e-mail on my cellphone. A friend, who was smart enough to beat the winter weather by a trip to Florida, had sent me some beautiful nature photos that her husband took. One was of an anhinga, a strange bird that inhabits the southern swamps. It is sometimes called the ‘snakebird’ due to its habit of swimming with its body submerged and its long snakelike neck above the water. Unlike most water birds, however, the anhinga does not have water proof feathers. Therefore, after every swim the bird must perch on land or a nearby branch with its wings outstretched waiting for them to dry.

I was interrupted from my musings about anhinga by a commotion at the reception desk. A man had apparently been alerted to the two-hour delay and was berating the receptionist.

“This is totally unacceptable!” he yelled. He was so hyped up that I wondered if he would become violent, furtively assessing my limited exit options.

“Do you think you are the only one with things to do. I have a very full schedule! This a lousy %@#& way to run an office! I’ll find another doctor! I’m out of here!” and he stormed out no doubt trying to slam the door although it was difficult with an automatic door. The office full of people was totally silent. The two receptionists looked at each other speechless. While I may have agreed with some of his sentiments, the delay was certainly not the receptionist’s fault. What immediately came to mind in my moment of multiple stimuli was, ‘He should have taken time to dry his wings’.

I chuckled to myself as I processed this thought. It was an interesting metaphor for taking time to think about a situation before reacting. What if we all took time to figuratively dry our wings after a difficult encounter?

As I thought about it, I remembered what Gabriel does when he has just been scolded for some infraction, like chewing yet another book cover. I scold him and when I am finished he turns around and goes to his bed for a nice snooze. When he wakes from his nap, I have gone on to something else and he has totally forgotten about the event. Clean slate! Maybe it’s his way of drying his wings. I guess we can all learn from birds and dogs.

photo credit: Dale Bulmer

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