The news that our very own Jo Durt & her mate BridgeBoy are currently sitting on four gorgeous eggs atop the BOIS Tower is astounding in every regard except for one: It turns out that laying a four egg “clutch” is the hot, new thing in New Jersey for Peregrine Falcon in 2018. It’s totally basic and trendy this season. In fact, every single Peregrine Falcon nest in New Jersey laid a four egg clutch this year except for one out near Philly. It laid five!
The size of a bird family’s “clutch” (pile of eggs) varies from species to species and from family to family within those species. Many folks have studied the various variables which might effect these fickle clutch sizes. Apparently they weren’t especially successful with these research projects or else we’d be able to predict clutch sizes by now and the news of the statewide four-egger would be no surprise. But we can’t, and it is, so there is still plenty of mystery surrounding why any of us choose to have X number of offspring, or any offspring at all for that matter.
It makes me wonder: were the Falcons feeling… optimistic? Or maybe they were feeling pessimisitic. If we leave the Catholics out of it for a minute (and I believe it has been proven that Peregrine don’t lean Catholic) and reflect on our own choices regarding number of offspring, it is tough to discern a clear pattern. While it is extremely biologically optimistic to have just one child, it is not hard to find folks having only one kid because they fear the chaos of the modern world and pressures of an uncertain economy would make raising any more than one a total disaster for everyone.
Yet alternatively, you can also find folks creating massive broods of 8+ children because they believe the world is going to hell so quickly that they’re going to need all the help they can get.
Are Jo Durt and BridgeBoy sensing that the odds are so stacked against them that they better lay a full clutch of four in hopes that at least one will survive? Or are they so stoked on their new Tower at BOIS that they are now filled with hope and confidence that they can easily and successfully raise four baby monsters? Or maybe even five like Philly?
I would like to believe it is optimism driving our Falcons. Because anything else would be a downer. In the end, it is a mystery what ultimately causes those alternating waves of optimism and pessimism which sweep the globe from time to time, often defining the generations, and creating history. Yet one thing is certain; pessimism is never in short supply. It is amazing to reflect on how every generation has had its army of doomsayers who were certain they were living in one of the last generations on Earth. Every, single one. Start with the Bible and work your way forward. For the true pessimist, the end was always at hand, yet somehow never came.
Now I can hear you screaming “BUT… BUT!!!” and flailing your raised hand…. “BUT WHAT ABOUT (GLOBAL WARMING/NUCLEAR WAR/DONALD TRUMP/KANYE)? THIS TIME IT’S DIFFERENT!!!111!!! THIS TIME IT REALLY IS BAD!!!11!!”
And maybe it is. My point is only that every generation has said and believed the exact same thing, often by overwhelming consensus, and every time, that time, it was “different.” Yet in another way, it was exactly the same.
The financial markets are the most interesting place to observe this. While they are riddled with uncertainty and unpredictability, one thing has been proven conclusively: the majority of people participating in a market always sink into despair right when they should be filled with hope (selling at the bottom) and grow unreasonably optimistic right when they should be cautious (buying at the top). It’s like we were wired backwards or something. Warren Buffet, the greatest investor of all time, became one of the richest men in history sitting in the same little office in Omaha, Nebraska, eating McDonalds for breakfast, with same few employees, getting his information from the same newspapers everyone else was reading, for over 50 years. And he outsmarted everybody.
He only has one secret, which he shares freely: Warren Buffet is an unabashed optimist. He has hope, so remains optimistic while everyone else panics. He’s never let doom, nor gloom, distract him from focusing on what counts and making good choices each day. And since hope is apparently more rare, more valuable, and more satisfying than anything else you could possibly experience, he never needed to spend more than the tiniest percent of a fraction of the billions of dollars he was rewarded with for remaining hopeful and proud of the world around him, so he gave his entire fortune away to help people in need. All of it. If our planet had just ten more people like him, it would be a very different place. (Warren Buffet had a three child clutch, incidentally.)
I’m optimistic that there will be magic at the BOIS Tower this season. And no matter what our shared future may bring, one thing is for certain: I’m going out there tomorrow and laying a big, fat clutch. Of optimism, of course. You know; metaphorically speaking. Won’t you join me? (Also metaphorical!!11!!one!!)