Burrs: a Metaphor


There is a chapter in my book called What You Know When You Are from Maine. It's one of my favorite chapters and I can't wait to share it with all of you.

As I am working on final edits, I have been thinking a lot about this one passage that takes place in the fall when I was growing up. Though the chapter is about my childhood, it is actually written in the second person, to hopefully help the reader experience it as I experienced it:

You walk to school and you are tempted to touch the bushes with the burrs as you pass them. Why do you want to touch those burrs? You know what happens when you do - you have burrs stuck in your fingers for the rest of the day and they are annoying to pick out. But you touch the burrs anyway. You don't know what compels you to do this.

When I wrote those sentences, I didn't mean them to have any deeper meaning than just the plain words on the page.

I used to touch those stupid burrs and I don't know why I did it. Period.

I didn't mean the passage metaphorically in any sense. I don't even like metaphors. Remember, I don't like reading between the lines. But, after thinking about my dating life, I realized that sentence is, in fact, metaphorical.

In the last two years of dating, I have been compelled to "touch" a few "burrs" and they did get stuck, but instead of in my fingers, in my head and in my heart. Those feelings can be just as annoying as actual burrs, when they are unrequited and you wish they would just hurry up and go away.   

Why are we compelled to touch burrs? And why is love so often unrequited? It seems like the rare times I feel that spark, it isn't returned and when someone likes me, I don't have reciprocal feelings.

Feast of Love was a movie that came out quite a few years ago, starring Morgan Freeman. In it he delivers this line, "There is a story about the Greek gods. They were bored so they invented human beings but they were still bored so they invented love. And then they weren't bored any longer. So, they decided to try love for themselves. And, finally, they invented laughter so they could stand it."

I don't remember much about the movie but I never forgot that line. I've felt like the Greek gods have been laughing at me ever since.

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Are you compelled to do things that end up hurting in the end? Is it worth it? How do you fast forward through annoying feelings until they go away? Tell me in the comments!


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Comments

  1. Sometimes the metaphors are intended by the writers, other times they are not. They belong to the reader. As for reaching for those burrs. Those burrs wouldn't be able to come on that journey with us. I am always glad I reach out for the burrs, because I never know how far it will travel with me.

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  2. It is the philosophical question : What pain do you want in your life ? What are you willing to struggle through? For example: I go to the gym, so that I look like an Adonis.

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