Forcing the Metaphor

Yesterday, when I came back in from a short walk with my wife, I was hanging up my hat and noticed that a bird had made a small deposit in the crown, almost dead center. I realized that there were three different ways I could look at this:

  1. Why does this kind of thing always happen to me?
  2. I’m glad I was wearing a hat.
  3. Is this a metaphor for the times we’re going through?

As far as 1) is concerned, this rarely happens to me, so that doesn’t work. 2) makes sense, but I pretty much always wear a hat these days and so always go protected. And regarding 3), The COVID-19 pandemic can certainly be seen as the whole lot of us being shat upon from above, but the metaphor seems a bit forced to me. Most likely the bird didn’t even notice me walking beneath it when it let go. No life lessons or great insight here.

As we in the US approach the peak of this medical emergency, it remains to be seen what lessons we will take from the experience as we move forward. I have heard that gun sales are up, which concerns me deeply. You can’t stop a virus with a gun. It’s a very dangerous way of intensifying the “us vs. them” stance, however, and crises tend to foster that mindset. 

I have also seen most people finding ways to cope with, adjust to, and work around the current restrictions we are facing, often with grace, love, and maturity, which gives me hope. Some of the activities and habits we are being forced to set aside may, as the crisis passes, be activities and habits we decide to leave in our past. In almost every case the way forward for a person, community, society, or country requires that something be left behind. It’s been said that there is no gain without loss, and I think there is some truth in that. We’ll see how this all plays out; it’s very hard to see the big picture when we’re right in the middle of it.

Published by


A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s