I walked over toward the roaring fire and watched the process of the crawfish boil unfold. 90 pounds of writhing, pinching agitated crustaceans filled a wheelbarrow. As I got close this one fellow rose up and looked me square in the eye. His claws came up. He was ready for a fight. Others in the stew did the more typical backing up behavior.

Behind the home where i grew up was a lovely little creek. It was lined with blackberry vines and I spent many summer evenings with my friends wading in the water and fishing for crawdads. We would tie strings to sticks and then bacon to the bottom fo the sting. Slowly we would submerge the tiny piece of fat and wiggle it gently outside one of the holes dug out of the side of the creek bank.

Then it would happen. I tiny claw would carefully emerge. First it would hesitate and then it snap closed on the meat. All that was left was to pull up the string. The beast would not let go to save its own life. It would hold on, protecting this tiny piece of bacon not realizing that the longer it held on, the more likely that it would be the last thing it ever held. It could not see an inch beyond its claw.

Without the bacon, the crawfish would act in a complete normal way. It would jet backwards and away from us. We spent so many hours in the water wading and chasing the aquatic life. We caught tadpoles and frogs. We had jars of wiggle things we found in the water. We ran from snakes, but always came back to the water. I don’t think we ever caught a crawfish by chasing it. It was only the lure that worked. Mostly, it was just catch and release with us. It was not until I was an adult that I actually ate one (not my favorite). I vastly prefer bacon and would not waste any to try to catch a crawfish.

I’ve been think about that brave crawfish in the wheelbarrow and the wise ones in the creek. Sometimes it is necessary to stand and fight. Other times it is better to flee, but its ridiculously hold on to an idea that is destructive and counter productive. So often, we start defending our ideas, our opinions, our territory and injure ourselves. We refuse to say we were wrong, we are sorry, we blew it. We stick out our big claw and hold on to a pretend purity. Everyone can see us clearly swinging from the string and could yell at the top of our lungs, “Let Go!", but most of us will cling on until it is much too late.

Unclasp your claw.