Today, I witnessed the teeny tiniest baby turtle in a pond we sometimes pass on one of our family walks. We are trying to hit 600 miles by August. Today marks 88.5 miles for me — accumulated over the past 17 days. Never in my strangest dreams would I think I’d do this while in quarantine. But the wonder of what we cannot plan…am I right?
If you saw a previous post, you know we like to name little special stopping spots on our walks. This one is home to many turtles. And the brightest tiniest green one was about the size of an Oreo. Bobbing up for air, paddling to stay afloat. Right out of Finding Nemo! So stinking cute. I didn’t catch a photo, but here is the pond!
We are approaching the end of week 7, beginning week 8 of quarantine in this pandemic. Our town in Stillwater, OK was supposed to slowly reopen with masks being mandatory to be worn in public and stores. However, within 3 hours of this regulation, some people in the town got angry, even using guns to threaten stores for not letting them enter without a mask. The whole thing is irresponsible. The mayor reacted to this revolt with revoking the mandatory mask-wearing rule to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Only after a few hours.
Such a strange time to be a part of history. A woman yelled at Nick at the veterinarian’s office, “I’m not going to get you sick!” She was mask-less. Too bad she doesn’t know masks also protect her. A different part of the world, here, everywhere. Many people are upset, though, not just us. Today’s wonder may seem trivial. A fuzzy fast caterpillar. But maybe trivial is what we need.
When I was younger, one of my favorite soothing activities was to go off in nature by myself. Sometimes that involved staring up at the clouds through the trees, feeling the grass prickle my back as I recoiled. Other times, like in college, it meant going off to sit and stare at the ocean, with no one else around. Today, I needed a moment to reset. On my 4 mile walk/jog I paused to listen to the birds, crunch a piece of grass between my fingers, feel the wind on my face.
Pausing in nature brings me closer to wonder.
I couldn’t get too close, but this little strip of trees by the baseball fields did the job. 🙂
It has been raining, and the backyard was muddy and wet. So I clipped Shiloh on to her leash and took her outside to go potty. On our way around the yard, I saw a blue fluff ball in the wet leaves. It was a baby blue bird. She looked like she had fallen from a nest or had maybe broken a wing or a leg.
I took Shiloh inside and made a nest basket with seeds and bread. My mom told me to rescue her, and reminded me a laundry basket would do. When I was little, we would rescue lots of animals, many of them birds.
But when I went outside, the little birdie flew away! She landed on the neighbor’s fence. Then, out of the sky, dove another blue bird (maybe her mom or sis or bro) and pecked her back and she fell to the ground, into the neighbors’ yard. I was shocked. And don’t know what happened to that blue baby bird.
The news has still been depressing. I believe we have entered a recession and may be on our way to a depression. Thousands of people are out of jobs. Those in the service industry have taken a ginormous hit. Most states have closed bars, restaurants, theaters, libraries, schools, events with over 10 people (was 50, but now 10 is the encouraged number). It’s scary. Also, the world found out Tom Brady is leaving the Patriots for Florida’s Buccaneers today. Sad day in the sports world. I inherited TB and the Pats when I met Nick nine years ago. I guess I’ll need a different jersey.
Anyway, baby blue bird. A tiny moment of magic amongst the pandemic we are living in.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how wonder is not quite what I hypothesized it as: deep and accessible. This experiment has complicated that definition and challenged it. I think of wonder as small surprises, natural delights, the changing of time, growth. But overall, today this phrase came to me: The World is For You….Not Against You.
What do I mean by that?
I was trying to pick just one wonderful thing that happened today, and my mind was moving like a spider across a web, trying to pick just one. So I will share them, chronologically.
At 6:45 am, my son knocked on my door. He sleeps in a crib and I’ve been scooping him up out of his crib every morning for 3 years and eleven days. The knock made me pause. My boy was getting bigger. He was a monkey and could climb out of his crib easily, but even in his athletic ability, he still called my name in the morning from his room. Him knocking startled and delighted me. I told him to jump in my bed and get some more rest. I wasn’t ready for this moment, yet, I was. Of course I was. But in a way I was sad to realize my son wouldn’t need me in the ways I’d been accustomed to. But I was delighted by his independence, his growth, his joy to come and find me.
At 10:00 am, I entered a fairly empty TJ Maxx looking for thank you cards to send to everyone who so lovingly bought my son a birthday gift and/or attended his third birthday party. I know handwritten thank you cards are so old school, but I love them. However, once inside TJ Maxx one cannot just buy the desired item one came for then leave. (Cardinal rule!) I stumbled upon an orange Nike Oklahoma State hat…..normally $25, on sale for $6. This was a moment of wonder to me. I’d been wanting a hat, there the hat sat, on the shelf, waiting.
At 4:45 pm, I was on a jog. Well. It was more of a walk than a job because it had been cold and I had been busy so I hadn’t gone as frequently. When I run I play Spotify music from my phone that cozies up inside an athletic fanny pack. And as I was running, the birds chirped like it was spring, a melody, their own song. They were louder than my music and I attuned my ear to listen to just them. Before iPhones and digital music and cassette players — there were the birds. To sing and sing and sing some more.
So, world: how do I pick which wonder? Perhaps a side effect of this experiment is noticing wonder more, subconsciously. And by seeing more than one wonder a day, I affirm that the world is on my side. I can look at the small three moments today and see this to be true.
3:30 PM: Wind whips across my cheeks, I pull my hands deep into my pockets, keep my head down. But the way the sun glares, just bright enough, for a brief moment, has me stop. The clouds and sun demand to be seen, peaking out behind the oldest building on campus and desolate trees. I obey the command to briefly stop, take the scene in.