That old saying has transcended life-directional, generational and international boundaries so widely and deeply that it’s practically accepted as the absolute Truth. Don’t get me wrong, for many it is indeed an operational reality. But as someone who not only loves to sleep in but craves, nay, needs large quantities of sleep regularly if not constantly, well, I have come to accept my own version of this truth, or one I think is a more completely accurate version.
Yes, the early bird gets that proverbial worm more often than not.
But every birdie that gets out there, raring to go, in the earlier hours of any given day is not inherently smarter or a better hunter or more wonderful than the one still tucked neatly into the nest, storing up strength for her own burst of action, no matter what either’s pace or style or M.O. happens to be. For one little thing, the Law of Unintended Consequences can indeed be a nasty spank on the flank to anyone not paying proper attention, but in other senses, it can also lend a lovely surprise ending, a positive twist unforeseen: the worm that the aforementioned early bird unceremoniously cheated out of another day’s orchard-munching left an untouched, pristine apple hanging there. This glorious apple would otherwise have been unavailable to Miss Sleepy-Cheepy, who has finally arisen, seen the sweet orb of the fruit eclipsing a late-morning sun and surrounded by its celestial aura with a sense of angel choirs bursting into cinematic soundtrack song, and eaten her fill of juicy, energy-producing (and doctor-evading, if we are to believe all old sayings while we’re in this groove) goodness. Hopefully, thanking in her heart her early rising cousin for rescuing a tidbit that she secretly prefers to eating boring old worms anyway.
This, of course, is one microscopic scenario in the universe of possibilities. Many of those alternate realities are terrible, many grand, and many, just as on the millions of days before them, unremarkable. Except as they are experienced by us quirky, crazy, individual beings. We have our own filters and will always know life’s ups and downs through those; even though our filters must change as we change-or-die in life, we will never cease to experience a filtered life as long as we do live. We find our own realities. We shape them and understand them as best we can, and we let our own compulsions and desires and beliefs keep pulling us into the new world of tomorrow, whether we get up at the blink of its dawn or lie somnolent well into the middle of the day.
I am no bird. But I can fly, too, despite my urge to sleep a very long time while nestled in my safe places, and despite my natural resistance to learning new and seemingly impossible things. And it doesn’t have to be before a certain hour of the clock for me to stretch my wings. Maybe I’m a bat. If so, that makes me the early one, I guess.