At the college where I work, there is an enclosed patio that isn’t used anymore. There was an addition added onto the basement of the library many years ago, and certain departments worked from this underground facility. This patio is in the center of the addition and is the only place where you can see the sky. Its walls are made up of the windows that look out onto the patio from what used to be offices and classrooms. I say used to be because several years ago mold was discovered (since the area was all underground it leaked something fierce), so they moved almost everyone out and tore down all the inside walls, leaving a big, empty shell with this neglected patio in the middle. I’m responsible for the video production for the college district and my editing equipment is still located in a useable part of the complex, so I’m down there quite a bit.

Occasionally, birds get down in the patio and can’t figure out how to escape. What they see is the reflection of the patio in the windows and they think there is a lot more to their prison than really exists. They fly off to the image they see thinking there is more and then BAM! they fly right into the window knocking themselves a little loopy. You would think they would learn, but nope, they keeping flying into the windows and they can’t understand how to get out. All they would have to do is fly up and out, flying free of that very small confined space. But they see freedom just ahead of them not realizing it’s just a mirage, a reflection that has no real worth. You can almost see the panic on their little faces after banging their heads a few times. And rescuing them is no easy task. I grab the net we keep around for just such a purpose, and go out into the patio to set them free, something they just can’t seem to do on their own. And they are so afraid of me. They don’t know me, don’t understand my intentions, can’t get their little birdbrains around my vast intelligence and understand that all I want is the best for them. And so they take off for, you guessed it, the window. They still think that is their way to escape, and they are going to get free on their own. BAM! BAM! BAM! Eventually they are dazed enough that I can capture them, take them outside and set them free. Of course they are probably still so dazed the cats that live around the campus probably get them, but that’s another post.

Draw your own conclusions and make your own analogy about this story, but I think about all the mirages, the reflections, that I think will set me free from whatever prison I happened to be in at the moment. I need help to escape; but I just know, beyond a doubt, that one of those reflections I see is real and I can get out. So I keep trying on my own. Credit cards. BAM! Legalistic righteousness. BAM! Unrealistic expectations. BAM!

I’ve got such a headache.