When you come to a fork …

 BY PAULINE SHIRLEY
Leaders on Fire

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” is one of many quotes from my favorite philosopher, Yogi Berra.

The blue heron that nests around my neighbor’s pool must have thought Yogi said, “When you come to a fork in a tree, take it.” Because that’s exactly what the bird did. He took a fork in a tree (who knows how) and found himself in a serious predicament.

Pulling into my back alley driveway the other evening, I heard my neighbor calling. This was most unusual. I quickly got out of my car and went to see what he wanted.

With both hands, he was holding a bird whose neck was stuck between a fork of two limbs in a tree. His efforts were keeping it immobile and from more serious harm. He asked me to hold it so he could get something to pry the limbs apart. We switched placed. Holding the very still creature, it felt warm and soft in my hands so I knew it was alive. Then, scant seconds later the bird was free. It quickly went from still to squirming to squawking. Not one peep of appreciation came out of it’s beak.

We humans sometimes find ourselves stuck in a fork of one kind or another. It doesn’t matter what kind, we’re still stuck. Do we struggle uselessly or do we calmly consider options for getting ourselves unstuck? Often the options considered require assistance from others. Having received assistance that freed us, do we squirm and squawk or do we express appreciation for it.
One cannot really expect appreciation or thanks from a blue heron, however, common sense expects some acknowledgement for efforts and support even when it is freely given.
Although I love and enjoy the words of Yogi Berra, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” I know they are not words that give clear direction. A choice must be made. And sometimes we may need the wisdom, encouragement and support from others in making the best decisions, the right choices.
Pauline Shirley provides leadership training through Leaders on Fire. She is a past international president of Toastmasters International and a mentor to thousands in North Texas.

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