We know peacocks for their showiness—layer upon layer of shimmering feathers, bright orbs of color glinting through green, gaudy blue necks holding up a proudly poised head. They’ve strutted their way into uncontested first place as the showoffs of the bird world.
“Proud as a peacock” has become proverbial.
But maybe peacocks have their own proverb, “superficial as a human,” or “show off” or something like that.
We can’t see farther than fine feathers.
Of course, there’s no question that peacocks are striking animals—but not just because of their colorful plumage. These apparent dandies can strike out to defend themselves against predators. They’re equipped with mighty spurs on the back of their skinny legs, and they use these “kicking thorns” to intimidate any carnivores looking for a fancy dinner.
Peacocks’ feet are remarkable in other ways too. With three solid claws for gripping and backward facing “thumb” for balance, there’s no knocking this bird over. The gorgeous plumage may catch the eye as the bird struts across the ground, but the sturdy feet keep every feather from blowing away in the first gust.
It turns out peacocks aren’t vain birds foolishly spreading their feathers to the breeze for all to admire without a proper foundation to keep them stable. There’s balance and strength in those gnarly toes that we never notice.
Pride isn’t using what we have for others to see and enjoy: pride is showing off what we can’t hang on to and taking credit where no credit is due. Peacocks make a big show with their feathers, but if push comes to shove, they have the strength to carry the weight.
The peacock is a well-balanced animal, too; you never see a peacock falling over. Once again, the showy bird has the walk to back up its talk. It’s got symmetry in its plumes and strength in its feet—each quality just where it should be.
The peacock’s timeless tale reminds us that beauty is fleeting, but the value comes from being helpful. Pride can lead to a downfall; instead, stay humble in all your endeavors!
So maybe what we should learn from peacocks is less about what not to do and more about how not to do it. There’s no call to keep beautiful feathers tucked away all the time. But…..
“Before you spread your feathers like a magnificent peacock, make sure your feet can take the strain.“Aura Alex
All photos credit: Shutterstock