This I Believe

Maximillian - Wylie, Texas
Entered on April 24, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Perseverance can be seen in lots of people. It should be recognized in anything from the rookie vying for that new job to the two year-old trying to tie his shoes while his dog jumps on him. I can think of many times I’ve seen it floating around peoples minds, hovering just out of reach, but one instance comes to mind every time I hear the words “It’s too hard.” A bird and his fruit.

I remember a few years ago on a trip to Costa Rica, to see for the first time my family I’d never met. As soon as we stepped out of the airport, we were immediately surrounded by more than twenty of my father’s closest relatives. I listened to the dull roar of catching up for about fifteen minutes, and then we all drove to a house. The ride was cool, because the scenery is amazing. Without the poor, beaten shacks along the way, it was all lush green hills with tall sturdy trees, and macho looking animals that you can’t describe staring you down, ready to throw fruit if you come closer.

The house we all went to was a big, well-adorned house that could easily have been made of clay, sitting on a nice portion of a hill. People talked late into the night, but I was tired from the trip so I went to bed.

The first couple weeks flew by so fast I started to forget what day it was. The rest of my family from America went home, leaving me and my older brother in the loose care of my aunt. My brother got stressed out very fast. Having much more to worry about than me, he was edgy for a few days. Then it disappeared almost instantly, like the happiness you feel going up a tall roller coaster. We started to explore.

San Jose is an awesome city. There were all kinds of vendors selling everything from fresh vegetables to lottery tickets to things I can’t pronounce. My brother went into a shop looking for a shirt he wanted, and I saw a brilliant blue bird climbing to get a mango out of a tree. A lopsided branch brought the fruit about five feet from the ground. I wondered why it didn’t just fly over to it, so I walked over. The bird fell with an unmerciful ‘thunk’ on the dirt below. It writhed in mute unbearable pain as I noticed its left wing was a mere stump.

I could easily reach the mango, and naturally I tried to get the fruit for it. It squeaked and pecked my foot in a territorial kind of way. I assumed it thought I wanted the fruit, but I’m pretty smart so I got the point and slinked away as it picked up thorns in its beak.

I kept watching it, and I started to like the bird. I grimaced over and over as the bird fell, and fell, heart-wrenching clunk after heart-wrenching clunk. When the bird made it up to the branch, I cheered and ran over. The poor bird sat on the mango terrified, frantically trying to knock it down. I got a few yards from it but the bird and fruit fell to the dirt below, the last fall for a long time. When I first got here, I was handed a thousand-colon note, which is about two dollars, and I bought a mango and brought it to the bird. It ignored the gift as it enjoyed its meal. I put it down a few feet away and went to my brother, who walked out of the store triumphant with the shirt. I never saw it again.

I won’t lie and tell you I keep trying everything. I still leave answers blank on tests and stop playing my guitar after missing a note, but when it counts, I pull through. Usually.