Monday, August 30, 2010

The Scarecrow

My word of the day (again- brought to you by my sister) is Scarecrow. What an odd word to give someone to write about.

(Heck, what can I say - I gave her corn dog!)

I began thinking about what a scarecrow represents, historically why we have them, what are they (in a practical sense) used for, why we have them at Halloween and of course, the most famous scarecrow of all - from the Wizard of Oz.

I have to admit, the Scarecrow was one of my favorite characters from the Wizard of Oz. To be perfectly honest (and anyone in my family can vouch for this) - I am  HUGE HUGE HUGE Wizard of Oz fan. Sooo many lessons, sooo many parts to the story, and the movie was BEEE-UUU-TIFUL. As a kid I just loved all the bright - techni-colors. But I digress...

The Scarecrow never felt smart. He thought his brain was only straw. Why? Because that is what he was told. He was "created" and put into a very specific category and was declared a scarecrow. Many farmers still use scarecrows in their cornfields and gardens to scare away crows, but while this “make-believe man” might keep the large black birds away for a while, crows are really not easily frightened and soon return to the fields and even perch on the arms and head of the scarecrow.

The old custom of using a scarecrow was originally not to scare away crows, but rather as a cross-symbol to protect a cornfield. Superstitious farmers made scarecrows with two poles fastened together in the form of a cross, since the cross was considered a powerful charm against evil spirits. Clothes were then hung on the poles as a disguise.

Today, scientists claim that it’s not the scarecrow, but the scent of people clinging to the clothes that keeps the birds away at first. But soon, the rain and the wind carry away these scents, thus carrying away the “scare” out of the scarecrow.
 But what about our little loving man of straw? Did his purpose in life (as he was told) slow him down from what he was supposed to do?? In the Wizard of Oz he was very much the voice of reason, yet very insecure.
 Isn't that the way life goes? We are born - in whatever society/class/custom - and then we begin to move into these roles our society has placed on us. A few try to break through - but the baggage of our "roots" seems to also keep us humble... or is it insecure?

Let's also ponder Scarecrow's self talk.

In the beginning, he says: "You see, I can't even scare a crow! They come from miles around just to eat my fields and... and laugh in my face. Oh, I'm a failure, because I haven't got a brain! "

He doubts his own abilities (or what he thinks he is supposed to be doing.) He says the very words no human should ever utter - "I'm a failure, because I haven't got a brain."

How many times have our parents (or if you are a parent) said, "What were you THINKING? Use your brain!!" I hear it all the time from my friends with their kids, and I am sure my own mother said it a time or two.

After the Scarecrow meets Dorothy, and he makes sure to inform her of how "dumb" he thinks he is... she asks him.. what would he do if he had the one thing he wanted - a brain! He says, "Why, if I had a brain I could...

(singing) I could while away the hours,
Conferrin' with the flowers,
Consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin'
While my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain. "

So here is the Scarecrow.. wasting his life on a pole in a field (b/c that's the society he was "born" in) - but he wanted so much more.

Later, after many adventures where he proves he is brave and smart and kind.. he meets - THE WIZARD." He makes his request- for the one thing he always wanted - and the Wizard says to him, " Why, anybody can have a brain. That's a very mediocre commodity. Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain!"

Which means - what you need .. is what you have. What you have is what you need. It's what you do with it!

Unfortunately (just like most of us).. the Scarecrow needed some validation.. so the Wizard says to him, "Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universitatus Committeeatum e pluribus unum, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of Th.D. "

With the validation and encouragment Scarcrow responds, "The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side. Oh, joy, rapture! I've got a brain! "

The one thing I really want is peace of mind.
One day, I hope to post - " Oh, joy, rapture! I've got peace of mind!"

What is your Scarecrow? What do you really want?


Anonymous said...

Fabulous! To be honest, I actually had the John Mellencamp song going through my head when I thought of scarecrow- you know the one... "rain of the scarecrow, blood on the plow..." It just made me think of our summers in Indiana :)

Anonymous said...

oops- meant "rain on the scarecrow..." my typing is getting to be as great as yours!

Anonymous said...

I want to be less anxious. It hinders life.

Robin said...

Excellent post. Of course, the exciting thing about being alive is that we always want more. And this is actually a good thing. Once we achieve one thing, we want something else. We set the bar a little higher. I want to be healthy so that I can get back to the business of living fully and joyfully.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post! I suppose my scarecrow would be acceptance. To be accepted for who I am and not judged so harshly

Leanne said...

OOoooo . . . LOVE the quotes for TWOZ! What is my scarecrow? Balance. Yes, balance. Hmmmm. That's deep.

lisleman said...

I bet you notice that readers don't typically leave comments on older posts. I'm not completely sure why. If the system is working you should get notified of the comment. Yours is a timeless post so why would it matter. I enjoyed your scarecrow analogy.
If you have a minute and like Wizard of Oz you'll like an old post of mine. thanks


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