Job outlook fables, sky high stock markets and an economy for the birds


Hawk (Photo credit: Don McCullough)

The economy is still so soft that this morning a hawk landed on the back of one of our patio chairs hoping to catch goldfish from our pond for breakfast.

I was putting on my shoes upstairs in the bedroom when I saw the majestic bird of prey come swooping in. It stopped on a dime atop the chair, gazing at our pet fish only a few feet away. I raced down the stairs, hollering down to my wife that she should look outside the door.

She turned, opened the door and the beast glanced back at us once before spreading its abundant wings and flying off. It was so unbelievable that if we both hadn’t seen it, I would have been at a loss to describe it. We looked at one another and I asked if we had a net to put around the top of the pond. She said we did and sought about the task of rigging it over our little aqua buffers.

I thought about the hawk all day up until now. I never know what I am going to write about when I sit down, but I knew I would be getting some mileage out of the bird who was completely out of place in our backyard. What did it all mean?

What could make a hawk leave the wild for the pickings of suburbia? Did he want to settle down? Why was he hunting away from his usual haunts? The whole thing didn’t seem right.

The hawk wasn’t sick looking. In fact, it was just the opposite. It was large, nimble and almost certainly would have pounced on the pond and our fish if we hadn’t interrupted its surveying of the land from the crow’s nest that was the chair back his talons were wrapped around.

Red Tailed Hawk

Red Tailed Hawk (Photo credit: HVargas)

Perhaps the hawk realizes we function in a global economy now. We can’t just do things in the United States. We have to be all over the place. We have to be busy all the time. We have to try new restaurants and new places to get our food. We have to go to the farmer’s market, the fruit bazaar and the drive up vegetable stand for our produce. We also have to grow some of our food on site too. We can’t do things all in one place anymore.

Neither can the hawk

I overheard someone wishing they could be bored again. Now why would someone wish they could be bored? Aren’t bored people boring? I think it was probably a desire for things to not be so busy, for there to be less chaos and more simplicity in our lives, than a wish to be bored. It was a statement that characterized the frenzied world we live in.

Like before the global economy?

Now that you mention it, yes, like before the advent of the global economy. Before the world did business all over the world, there were more set routines in everyday life. We all had routines. You hear the old saying that we are creatures of habit. Well, the global economy left us creatures of habit with so many interruptions each day, all day long, that we had no more habits to follow. Routines, habits and order provide structure. Chaos and interruption only lead to many things never reaching fruition, unless of course, you’re talking about insomnia.

Perhaps the hawk was thinking outside the box

I think the hawk probably wanted to stay in its familiar hunting turf, but us chaotic humans with our countless interruptions throughout our innumerable busy days probably forced the hawk out of his routine. So yes, it’s our fault the hawk was in our backyard this morning hoping to munch on our fish.

English: Scanned image of author's US Social S...

English: Scanned image of author’s US Social Security card. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Things are good but are they really?

The stock market sets new records most days. We cheer silently as we check our IRAs and 401(k)s, noting our climbing wealth on paper. On paper. Say it again. On paper. People worry about whether Social Security is going to be there or not, but they take for granted that their retirement savings will continue to go up and up so that by the time they are ready to retire, they can. I think it’s somehow a dream to think that even if we have the money to do things we’ll be able to be satisfied at doing nothing and simply relaxing again. After all, a hawk that is forced to hunt all over the place ends up doing just that all the rest of its life. The routine of no set routine becomes the most unfortunate routine of all.

After seeing mostly cardinals, robins and blue jays in the yard, hawks are now not to be discounted among the new birds on the block. Yet, I cannot understand how they could feel they should take a chance on someplace where there are a lot of people. Wild animals tend to stay away from humans and suburbia especially, if they can help it.

Is the net a metaphor for the need for increased protection from the unknown?

I feel the hawk will be back. The hawk is the bad guy only because the fish are the good guys. The hawk is fine as long as he doesn’t come in our back yard in an attempt to hunt down our fish. It’s kind of like homeless shelters are fine as long as they’re not built in our neighborhoods.

The homeless shelters and hawks of the world need a place to be and to go. I stopped forecasting a major market correction because no one can control what will happen now that the economy has been propped up time after time with cash infusions from the Federal Reserve. The jobs market needed a place to go and that was overseas. But it’s coming back if you believe all the reports about how expensive offshoring is getting.

Perhaps the hawk was neither offshoring or job hunting. Perhaps he was just doing what he had to do to feed his family. He surely did not want to leave his trusty hunting grounds unless he had to. Maybe the inability to find work or food led him to our back yard. We can only sit and wonder if he’ll make it to retirement.


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