Sunday, February 25, 2018

The nest, or looking for everyday magic

The day started out with rain, switched up to hail, at some point this evening began to sleet, and is now gamely snowing. We can hear people honking and cussing each other on the state highway outside, and the occasional ambulance going by. Captain Midnight will probably telecommute tomorrow. It's just another February evening in the Pacific Northwet.

I almost didn't go to church today. I'd been up later than usual the previous night and I didn't feel up to it, but CM waited patiently for me as I found a clean dress and shoes and ran a brush through my hair. Off we went through the hail to our local meetinghouse, which is about a 10-minute drive from our place.

Ever the gentleman, CM dropped me off next to the south side door so I wouldn't get overly pelted by hail. I waited for him there in the shelter of the doorway as he parked the car, and as I was waiting, I just happened to look up. There are two trees flanking the doorway, and in the one to the left, sheltered in the crook of a branch, was a bird's nest.

We'll have attended church in the same building for eleven years this March. And in all that time, walking through this door every Sunday, I'd never seen it before.

Now it's quite possible that there wasn't a bird's nest in that tree for all or even most of that time. And right now, with all the deciduous trees bare of leaves, objects like birds' nests are a lot easier to see. But even a cursory glance at that nest was enough to reveal that it had been there for some time. I'm sure I've walked beneath it before, sometimes empty as it was today, sometimes filled with new eggs. I just never thought to look up before. And as a writer, it's my job to look up.

It's easy to notice unusual things. I saw a little bird in the supermarket last week, right next to the entrance, perched on a box of Lucky Charms. I've seen birds in airport terminals before. But I rarely see a bird in a nest unless the nest is in an unusual place, like the one tucked under the eaves of my mailbox shelter. A bird's nest is so commonplace that it's nearly invisible. It's not easy to notice precisely because one doesn't ordinarily bother to look for it.

Bird's nest in nettles.
In line with that observation, here's my current theory: I believe that life is full of magic. We often experience magical things, but they're designed to fade from our minds quickly unless we take the time to write them down. So I picked up a little pocket-sized notebook and a fine-lined teal pen from my friendly neighborhood Daiso, and for the last little while I've been scribing down everything I see that strikes me as magical in some way. It's surprised me, even with my teensy-weensy eyestrainovision handwriting, how quickly the notebook is filling up.

How often do you notice everyday magical things? Do you keep track of them?

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