As I enter into the 62nd year of my life, I find it marked not so much by the predictable changes to my body, but by the way I see the world. Simple pleasures that once escaped me now effortlessly grab my attention and fill my life with everyday miracles.
I love to linger as the late fall sunsets splash their vibrant colors across the smooth surface of Webster Lake. I like to drive the speed limit -- well most of the time -- and pity those drivers who dash from lane to lane only to end up at the red light just ahead of me. I bet they didn't see the fiery fall display along the French River or the impeccable summer flower garden on Route 131 in West Dudley.
"Why is everyone in such a hurry? I mumble to myself driving along Route 16 in the Douglas woods or on White's Highway in the spring time. "They don't see all of the wild mountain laurel bushes blooming."
These days I'm not surprised when a new season rolls around. Not long ago it seems that each season ambushed me. "Summer already?" "When did Winter get here?" I was so busy living for the future that I missed when it arrived.
Now, though, I take the time to prepare a spread of sunflower seeds, peanuts in the shell, and millet for the birds migrating through our neighborhood and study my field book for identification. If I had busied myself with the usual chores several months ago I might not have heard the commotion coming from our apple tree.
A flock of cedar waxwings were engaged in a unique feeding ritual when they passed a tiny apple back and forth, one to the other, until one bird finally ate it and they started the ritual again. If I'd been diligently dusting or vacuuming, I'd have missed it.
To fully appreciate this new perspective, I think you have to attain a certain age. For example, a few years ago, when the kids were still at home I forced them to look at the Hale-Bopp comet every night. "Can you imagine," I asked, passing the binoculars, "how lucky we are to be living right now?"
At first the kids uttered appropriate responses: "Wow! That tail is so long!" But soon the novelty wore off, "Just a minute," they'd say to their friends on the phone. "Mom says I have to look at some comet, I'll be back in a second."
After a couple of weeks, the kids perfected their timing as the Hale-Bopp appeared, they disappeared. But I was awestruck each evening and still wonder where in the universe that megalithic snowball came from and where it went - and will still be going long after we're gone. Maybe that's when the truth hit me; my life span really is infinite and I'm on the shorter end of the equation.
Nowadays, it doesn't take a universe-size event to amaze me. Little things that I've been too busy to notice now seem wondrous... such as cutting up fruits and vegetables. If my grown kids are visiting, I yell, "Come look at this!" They rush into the kitchen only to find me peering into a ripe cantaloupe or a green pepper. "Have you ever seen such a color?" I ask.
"No one has ever seen the inside of this melon but us!" I exclaim. "Look at the pepper's architecture!"
Even though the eldest is rapidly approaching her forties, the four of them are still too young to understand. "Mom wants us to look at another piece of fruit," she yells back to her siblings. "That's nothing," the next one remarks. "Last week she made me look at the inside of a hard-boiled egg."
Frustrated, I agree to no more eggs or peppers. But I've got a real surprise for them. Last week I bought a star fruit at the market. I might have to call the entire neighborhood in for this one.
Better yet, now that the two year-old grandchild has moved in with us, I'm looking forward to a new audience for my everyday miracles.
- Tuesday, 27 December 2011
- Posted in Categories: : Ginger Costen's From This Corner