Every day we wait with bated breath for our friends to grace us with their presence. We delight in their inquisitive gaze, their focus on the task at hand, and their fat round bellies full of seed from the feeder. With smiles on their faces, they look at us as if there were no distinction between those who belong, and those who have intruded, on this, the edge, of paradise.
They seem to be perfectly at home, these two, just on the other side of the glass, despite the cool morning temperatures and the often dark and cloudy skies of winter. We are perfectly at home, the warmth of the wood stove surrounds us as if immersed in a dense, tropical fog. Northern light brightens our habitat as if the sun were out in full force this dreary winter day. Spring, of course, is right around the corner!
They are quite the pair, those two. He with his bright red cap, she with her not so subtle and colorful accents, never together, never far apart. With black and white coats, they look as if they are going somewhere special, perhaps to a dance or a late night formal dinner. In the woods you can hear them call… cha cha cha and kwirr, kwirr. They are our neighbors, yet we don’t know where they live. They are our friends, yet we don’t know their names. They are our reminder, however, that it is only through our appreciation of the little things in life that we can appreciate life in its fullest.
Why do we find it so hard to relish in the small stuff, the little things in life? We are constantly reminded that the path to success doesn’t allow time to “sweat the small stuff”. I would argue that only by embracing the small stuff can we even begin to understand the big stuff. The inquisitive mind is the mind that asks the seemingly mundane and boring questions. My mind is such a mind, no doubt often mundane and boring (as reported by others), but always inquisitive. I want to know everything as it relates to the world in which I live, but I know there isn’t enough time for that. So I choose those things I can be a part of, those things that I can tinker with and embrace with my own hands, and those things I can seek to understand.
My friends live simple lives. Their lives are lived in the moment, from one day to the next. My life will never be as simple, but it certainly can be well lived, and lived in the moment. The challenge for each of us, I think, is to find time to “sweat the small stuff”. To lay in the leaves of winter and watch the spiders crawl around at night, their eyes radiating like miniature multi-faceted search lights. Or perhaps to sit for hours and hours and watch that newly dug hole in the forest floor to determine who has moved into the neighborhood. Or even just lay on the dock, silent and still, only inches from the water, and watch the birds as they journey north, heading home for the beginning of a new season of life.
Find time, I challenge you… find time to sweat the small stuff. The big stuff comes to you in boxes and bags and by the truck load. It will consume you if you let it. The small stuff, however, is all around you, just waiting to be discovered.
Find time, again, I challenge you. Discover what most folks miss. Your life will be as blessed as our friends at the window.