Itty Bitty Bird Bullies · 19 June 2021

I am always amazed when I see little birds picking on big birds.

I was watching a bald eagle fly over the basketball court near my house one day. It was a day with clear blue skies, and the eagle was riding the thermals. Just soaring. Just minding its own business. The eagle seemed quite a ways up there.

Then, this little bird came into my field of view. It was flapping its wings like crazy. Like it had to get somewhere fast. It was gaining altitude quickly. It was still mostly in my peripheral vision, but then it hit me. That little bird was going to go after the eagle.

If you have never seen little birds pick on big birds, you would be amazed. Certainly surprised. I have seen it happen time and again. The larger bird is minding its own business when all of a sudden one or more itty bitty birds starts to pick on it. The big and little birds go into an aerial ballet of sorts. Weaving and bobbing. Doing all sorts of looping and stalling. It is the air show of all air shows. Something to behold.

Well on the particular day I saw them, these two birds were not really showing off their flying prowess. They were just being a bit standoffish. I only saw one or two loop de loops. And unlike several of the aerial combat shows that I have seen between big and little birds, this particular one was mild and short-lived.

But it got me thinking. (I know. That can be dangerous.) And wondering.

I have always wondered why those aerial combat shows do not end with the itty bitty bird being big bird food. Think about it. All that eagle or hawk or other taloned bird would need to do is reach out those talons and that little itty bitty bird would be snack food for the babies back home. I suppose that the little birds can maneuver better than the larger birds, but I do not know. It seems that every bird can turn on a dime in the air. So I have always wondered why the large predatory birds do not just gobble up the little pests.

That was when I realized. The little birds, the itty bitty birds, the pesky peeper birds are just bullies. We think that they are protecting their young ones from the big bad raptors, but they just want to pick on the larger birds. Those little birds just want to show the other birds that they are tough.

And those large birds, those predatory birds, those taloned birds? They are just the gentle giants minding their own business. Their mammas told them that they are bigger than the other birds so they should just turn the other cheek and not worry about the little birds. Even if they could be a little snack.

I know. It is not a good thing to personify animals. (The technical and literary term is called anthropomorphism. Use it in a conversation sometime. Outside of English class. Anthropomorphism.) After all, animals are most likely not thinking those thoughts. Those taloned birds’ mammas did not really tell them to not pick on the little birds. But it is fun to think of them that way. After all, we all know gentle giants whose mammas did tell them to not pick on the little guy. And we all know little bullies.

I do not know the real reason that eagles and hawks do not just pluck those pesky little birds out of the sky. I do not really know why those itty bitty birds seem to pick on the big bad birds flying so high in the sky. All I know is that it seems to me the outcome ought to be different. Or even the beginning ought to be different.

Then again, maybe the big bad bird soaring in the sky really is eyeing the little bird’s offspring as possible prey. Maybe the little bird really is just trying to protect its young ones. I do not really know. All I know is what I see. And what I see is itty bitty birds picking on big birds with sharp talons. I am always amazed at the sight.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Do Not Rest on Your Laurels · 12 June 2021

When you make it big, when you’ve got influence and power
Do not rest on your laurels in your ivory tower
Do not think, “I have made it!” as you sit in your splendor
Keep the thoughts in your heart innocent and tender
And remember the good that you said you would do
The rights you would wrong and the charities too

Now I’ve heard it said that people change with great power
That they think less of others and their outlook becomes dour
But I think that power just shows who you are
Whether you love people more than you love your car
It lets you show disdain for your dear brother
Or you might show contempt for your father or mother

Yes, I believe money and power let you show the world you
It lets you do everything that you want to do
You can be good or bad or indifferent you see
You can shout to the whole world, “Hey! Look at me!”
And all they will see is what deeds you have done
They will be there in the open under the sun

So get your heart right as you climb up the ranks
Make sure you are giving all the proper thanks
Keep your priorities right – love people, use things
Then you can have all the good things that your power brings
You can right some of the wrongs, you can do so much good
As long as you do all the things that you should

Keep your integrity strong, get your heart right
Do what you do, like it is all in plain sight
Then you need not worry that power will corrupt you
You can be proud of everything that you do
And when you make it big, when you’ve got influence and power
You will not rest on your laurels in your ivory tower

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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What a Pandemic Taught Me about School · 5 June 2021

Oh what a season the pandemic has brought!
School life has not turned out like any had thought.
No dances, no prom, no big get-togethers,
No fancy parades, no hats with big feathers.
Out with tradition, but there was still graduation.
We still send out the grads with much adoration.

Yes, school life was changed. What is remote learning?
Can you believe, that for the classroom we’re yearning?
Even though we still love our sisters and brothers,
We can’t spend each minute with our fathers and mothers.
Crowded halls, too much homework, we want to see all our friends.
Oh when will we ever see this pandemic end?

And computers and modems, oh we hate all that tech.
“My internet is down! Again?! What the heck!”
Oh how we long to use paper and pen.
To have written tests every now and again.
But we still have our phones to call one another.
Even though it’s bad news about losing a brother.

It’s hard to hear of the loss in our school family.
Each life is so precious. I hope that you see.
For each son and each daughter, each sister, each brother
Is important to all. For we all need each other.
So hold tight to each other. Cherish those in your ring.
For we don’t really know what tomorrow will bring.

And though it seems rather callous to say,
Tomorrow will bring another new day.
The sun will still shine the moon will still rise,
Even though you still have fresh tears in your eyes.
But you will again, think life is dull and mundane
Until you wake up with that heartache and pain.

For the pandemic has taught us to take the bad with the good.
If you have not yet learned that, it is now that you should.
The pandemic has shown that we all need each other.
It has helped us appreciate, mothers, sisters, and brothers.
(Yes, fathers too, but there are few rhymes with father,
And so I decided that I would not even bother.)

The pandemic has shown that we love being at school.
Even if they enforce what some call questionable rules.
Even if we have bells telling us all when to move.
Even if we must teach only what’s been approved.
Still, we know students learn under any conditions.
And that teachers will teach for that is their mission.

We know that small gatherings each day in our classes,
And having to walk down the hall with hall passes,
And sitting in desks that are small and rock hard,
And worrying about grades that come on report cards,
And sitting up straight and not looking bored,
And smacking your friend because in class he snored,
And raising your hands to be recognized,
And learning it’s okay to have your work criticized,
And having school dances where kids hold up the wall,
And having the prom feel like a princess’s ball,
Are all part of the process. Are all part of school.
Are all part of making sure, you are nobody’s fool.

The pandemic has shown us all this and more.
It has made us prepare for whatever’s in store.
It has made us realize that “we” is better than “me.”
That we are more than a school. We are a true family.
And through fire, flood, pandemic, or any kind of weather,
We know that we are the best when we are together.

So dear graduates it’s to you that our hats we do doff.
And we give you all hugs as we send you off.
And we say some kind words to show you we care.
To tell you that we will always be there.
For though you are leaving, you are still part of “we.”
And you will always be part of our school family.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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