Chicken vs. Eagle

unsplash eagle chick

I came across a post that contained the following “well known” story that is supposed to be inspirational — to get you to realize you are not living your full potential and that you can do something about it. Since it’s apparently common knowledge (even though I had never heard the story put this way), I think I can just copy and paste here without infringing on copyright:

One day, a hardworking farmer found an eagle’s egg lying on the grounds of his farm. He was in a hurry so didn’t given much attention to it and quickly placed it in the chicken coop with all the chicken eggs. After a couple days, the egg hatched and the eagle was born.

 The eagle looked around and assumed he was a chicken and so the eagle clucked and pecked and dug for worms. He scurried about and occasionally jumped around, flying a few feet in the air like the chickens.
Over the years, the eagle grew old and tired. One day he saw a magnificent bird flying overhead with grace, skill, and profound beauty. The bird was unfettered as it glided through wind and rain across the sky.

“Who is that?” asked the eagle.

“That’s the king of the birds,” replied a chicken, “The bald eagle! She is one with the sky. The sky is her home. We are chickens – our home is on the ground.”

And so the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that’s what he believed he was…

This reminds me of my life, except I realized pretty early on I *was* an eagle. But I didn’t really know what an eagle was, because someone had built a coop and kept me in it, so I couldn’t see any eagles other than the Ugly Chicken Eagle in the mirror.

I tried to ask about eagle things, but the chickens just kept on clucking with no real understanding of eagles.  Mostly they looked confused. “What? Eagles? Why would you ever want to know about eagles? Just keep pecking. It’s time to eat.”  But my beak was shaped differently, and it didn’t work like theirs did. I was too big. I devised ways to attempt to meet my needs, but it was awkward and clumsy like an eagle mirroring chickens would be apt to be.

Sometimes the chickens would attack, or turn away and pretend I wasn’t even there, fed up and angered by my questions and my clumsiness.  Which only served to increase my desire for eagleness.

When it was time to leave the nest, I didn’t really know how to be a chicken, and I certainly didn’t know how to be an eagle.

One day many years later I actually met a few eagles!  I was so excited! (read: scared to death).  But it was too late,  they could not teach me to soar, or even fly.  I was an old Misfit Ugly Chicken Eagle at that point, and could not make my wings do what theirs did, no matter how hard I tried.

What the Old Misfit Ugly Chicken Eagle does at this point is anyone’s guess.

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