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When Vultures Circle January 21, 2009

Posted by Chuck Musciano in Random Musings.
Tags: , , , ,

I spent fifteen years living in Florida. While some people view Florida as an idyllic tropical paradise of surf, sand, and perky rodents, I see it more as a modern taste of biblical Egypt.  While I left Florida before experiencing all ten plagues, I have actually lived through plagues of frogs, locusts, flies, and hail.  Some modern plagues filled in for the traditional ones; a plague of boils sounds bad, but a plague of tourists can be overwhelming.  Flash floods and brush fires are lovely, and you haven’t lived until you’ve discovered that a plague of wild pigs have uprooted your entire yard overnight.

I reached my tipping point one hot afternoon while trying to mow our yard. I recognize that “hot afternoon” translates to every day in Florida except for the tail end of January; this was actually a really hot day in August, with temperature and humidity both nearing 100.

The mower had broken down. I was sitting next to it surrounded by tools and mower parts, sweating and muttering.  As I wondered if a plague of mower problems was just beginning, I heard a “whoosh.” An enormous vulture landed next to me, no more than three feet away!

Vultures are huge, ugly birds.  Up close, they are even huger and uglier. They spend their days circling high above the Florida swamps, looking for dead things to eat.  In my current state, I attracted enough vulture attention to warrant a further look. The vulture and I sat silently, considering each other.  I could see, in his beady vulture eyes, the assessment occurring.  “Hmmm.  Not dead yet, but close.  Could be dinner tonight; definitely dinner by tomorrow.”

Mental notes taken, he flapped his gigantic wings and took off, leaving me with my mower. I was relieved that I had not warranted an immediate taste, but deeply concerned by the perception of my imminent demise.

We had had enough of Florida.  Soon after, we began looking for a new job and home, which has led to many wonderful things for me and my family.  While the vulture was not the single reason for our leaving Florida, I still think of it as a strong motivating event for finally taking action and getting on with our move.

When faced with difficult, potentially costly decisions, I am reminded of the vulture.  It was the sign that convinced me to get moving.  In our personal and business lives, we often avoid hard decisions and try to defer the pain.  Moving was hard, but staying in Florida would have been disastrous.

Sometimes, it takes a vulture to force the issue and get us moving.  Are you avoiding a decision?  Are you in denial about a looming change to your world? Do you need a vulture?


1. Jeremy - January 22, 2009

As much as this is a well written piece that ultimately has little to do with Florida, I must say (as a native Floridian) that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What does not kill us makes us stronger…and keeps us out of the jaws of vultures..so to speak.

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