THORNS IN THE NEST
"Fear does not stop death. Fear stops life" (author uknown).
When I was around 10 years old, an America-loving Brazilian minister (one of the first people to ever spark my love for America) brought in his Sunday morning sermon the story of the bald eagle, the highest symbol of America's freedom, resilience, and strength. I clearly remember the dramatic tone of his voice, while images of that majestic bird flooded my mind.
One of the most fascinating portions of his sermon, one that I will never forget, was about how mother bald eagle builds her nest.
She starts by layering the nest with thorns, rocks, branches, and other sharp materials, he preached, a "floor" unsuited for a comfortable resting place. But after the base is finished, she starts lining it up with a dense cushion of feathers, fur, wool, pine straw, and other soft materials. It is there that she lays her eggs. It is there that her newborn chicks will start receiving the nutrition they need to grow.
Yet, when the birds reach flying age, something very interesting happens. Mother eagle starts stirring things up in the nest. With her long talons, the minister taught us, she starts bringing up the thorns and sharp rocks, thus exposing them to the surface and slowly moving away the comfortable feathers and wool from her babies’ nest.
In a gradual, deliberate, and continuous process, mother eagle provides the necessary change in her babies’ environment, making it uncomfortable enough to prompt them to end up their maturing process and move on to adulthood. If she did not stir up the nest, the eaglets would not have the desire to fly. And if the eaglets were not be prompted to fly, they would never learn how to be a bald eagle.
In times when covid19 has been making so many Americans hostages at their own homes (basically a "floor" of sharp stones and thorns right now), I keep intentionally bringing back to my mind the stories of American men and women, past and present, who have left profound marks in my personal history. John Winthrop, Priscila Alden, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, David Crockett, Abe Lincoln, MLK, George William Curtis, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, and so many others are the reason why covid 19 should not have paralyzed Americans in their own nests to the point it did.
It is time for this generation of Americans to show the way out of the nest. It is time for our present "eagles" to lead the way toward higher skies again. Way out of the nest!!!
ELIEL ROSA has built a solid career in the urban planning and public policy arenas in Brazil, Latin American countries, Portuguese-speaking African nations, Spain and in the US for the past 20 years. However, instead of keeping a long list of professional credentials and accomplishments, there is a special, top feature he would want you to retain: he is a diehard America-loving legal immigrant!