As I was driving today my eye caught the briefest glimpse of a bird poking around in the yellow leaves piled at the edge of the road. And I wondered just for the briefest second about how many birds there might be under those leaves, poking around for bugs and worms -- at tremendous risk of being run down by speeding tires, any of the hundreds whizzing past. And yet there they were. A quick shift of focus and there they were.
Sophie's class took a field trip to the city's waste water treatment facility today. It was a sensory experience that will remain ripe in her imagination, invisible to most of us. Maybe happily so. But it made me think, for another brief moment, about on how much we rely that we don't see. There is a magic in that shift in focus.
I woke up so tired today. There is a new personality to attend to in this household:
When Stella woke up with a sore throat and wanting to stay home, it was easy to say yes. But I had a headache and I had a meeting that couldn't be missed, and Sophie and Max still had to go to school, and oh! the driving! I am sure I drove the equivalent of a trip to Idaho and back today. And the rain. A mudpit of a backyard and a puppy. oh! the laundry! and the mopping...does muddy laundry water count as waste water? I kind of hope so.
Those little birds just refused to stay out of sight to me today, though. I'm not sure why. It may have been the confidence I picked up in the few paragraphs I read of Madeline Levine's The Price of Privilege -- where she assured me that being a working mother wasn't damaging my children. Or this quote I'd read, quite early in the morning, from Edith Cobb's The Ecology of Imagination in Childhood:
...wonder permits a response of the nervous system to the universe that incites the mind to organize novelty of pattern and form out of incoming information.
And so it was the absurdity of Max and Sophie pretending to be my sister's dogs invited by Stella to the family tea party that made me laugh. And the fact that they played their parts for her with mostly straight faces and cooperative barks.
And it was Stella's determination to prepare and clean the lettuce for dinner's salad that made me so proud. And the fact that she noticed how much everyone enjoyed eating it.
And it was Max's enthusiasm for sharing his careful work putting together and painting his tiny army guy models and watching him lost in his play with them not long after that filled me with love and awe for this big little boy.
And it was reading picture books with three children crowded so close we could barely breathe to read and Stella giving voice to the silly parts while Bob and I reached for each other with our toes that I felt so happy.
And it was Sophie's face, crushed with disappointment over having halved all but the milk in the soup recipe she made for dinner and her relief in finding that it tasted delicious anyway that made me feel thankful.
Thankful that all those little birds are there to find in every moment. Thankful for my own sweet little birds and their dad and those that came before us. Thankful that I can choose the form that I make of the incoming information I encounter in any moment. Thankful for all these moments.
And those to come. Always at risk of being run over by the speeding tires that can't perceive them. But there nonetheless. Visible to me when I choose to see.