“Look closely. The beautiful may be small.” ~ Immanuel Kant
Last summer, I blogged about a little bird I befriended (also a chipmunk) while isolating at the cottage for several months. Ever the creative, I affectionately named him or her Mybird.
It took me several months to earn its trust enough that s/he would eventually come when I called. I grew very fond of that little bird.
This summer, the day after I arrived at the cottage, that little bird—or one exactly like it—was back, on the porch railing, calling to me.
I have no idea if it’s the same bird, but the fact that it comes to me daily (for the birdseed in my hand, not my companionship; I’m not stupid) is proof enough to me that it is the same bird, that it somehow remembers and feels safe in my presence.
It may or may not be true. Doesn’t matter—it is the story I’m telling myself.
Because… why not? Why not choose to believe it? Because doing so brings meaning and substance and texture and beauty to my daily experience of life.
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In the end, I think that it may be the smallest moments that turn out to be what matter most.
Moments, moments we infuse with significance, moments from which we could squeeze joy like juice from an orange, if only we’d notice them.
And they don’t just appear, those moments, we must excavate them from the detritus of daily doo-doo with which we are bombarded. We have to look for them, dig for them, unearth them.
They don’t just happen—we make them happen.
Moments that offer a brief glimpse into a world of balance and order, when everything makes sense and the magnitude of the world’s problems—or your own little life—pale in comparison to the joy you feel in that tiny moment: your child’s first tentative step; that loving glance from your father; reading the birthday message that meant so much; a casual comment that made the real difference in your life; a daisy growing from a crack in the sidewalk; or a little bird alighting on a railing, awaiting some morning seeds.
Today, my chipmunk (cleverly named Chip) ate seeds from my hand for the first time, quite a step forward in our relationship.
And I captured it!
It doesn’t take much to add a little beauty to one’s life.
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The last lines of the 1999 film “American Beauty” spring to mind, wherein the protagonist has just been killed. In a voice over, he reflects on his life—as the camera pulls away from his lifeless body, panning to other characters’ reactions—and says:
“It’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes, I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain, and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.”
And I think to myself, well, mine may indeed be a little life, but it’s certainly not stupid.
No one’s is.
But then, that’s just a story I tell myself.
Because… why not? It makes me happy.
And that’s reason enough.
“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind.” ~Ashley Smith