A man sits on a park bench up on a slope, and looks down to the city skyline. A tiny blue bird lands next to him.
“Beautiful day,” the man says. “Much nicer than the weekend.”
After a moment, the bird says, “It is beautiful.”
They sit and watch the city for a while.
Finally the man turns to the bird: “So, how do you think your species will fare over the next fifty years?”
“That depends,” the bird says.
“What’s a ‘Next fifty years?’ ”
One day about a week later the man returns to the bench. After a few minutes, the bird lands next to him again.
“It is beautiful,” the bird says.
“Not so much today. I have big problems.”
The bird looks the man up and down for a moment. “Where are they? You look fine.”
“Well, I guess they’re down there,” he says gesturing to the city.
“That’s great!” the bird says. “Imagine if they were up here too.”
One day a month later, the man comes back to the bench and sits in his usual spot.
He is alone with his thoughts for a while. Just when he’s about to leave, the bird arrives.
“Good to see you,” the man says. “For a moment I thought you had died.”
“Sorry!” the bird says. “I guess you have to think something else now.”
One day three months later the man arrives at the bench again. It’s raining a bit. The bird is already there.
“How have you been?” the man asks.
“I don’t know, but I’m great.”
The bird guesses the man wants to be asked how he’s doing.
“How are you doing?” the bird asks.
“Honestly, I’m so-so. There’s always something to deal with.”
“I don’t see anything to deal with.”
“Well, that’s why I come up here.”
“To get away from my problems.”
“Forgive me,” the bird begins. “I don’t know what goes on down there. But when you come here you are always upset.”
The man says nothing.
“If your problems are down there, then obviously they are not the problem.”
One day about a year later, the man comes up to the bench. It is a beautiful day.
He sits and happily waits for the bird, but it does not come.