“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”
© Tom Gable
Everyday I wake up and look out to my bird feeders to see if any birds are perched there. Typically, there are squirrels stealing the seed I have put out and occasionally a couple chickadees and perhaps a nuthatch or two. But as the snow has returned, birds have begun to rely on my feeders extensively for food. For the past couple days I have had at least fifteen goldfinches, a dozen juncos, a pair of cardinals and a small flock of house sparrows. Better yet, I have a bird feeder attached to my window by my desk and the goldfinches have now discovered it. The goldfinches are about three feet away from me when on the feeder and therefore I get a very personal view of these beautiful birds.
In my excitement, though, I tried to really specify what exactly made me so excited to have birds at my birdfeeder. We all see birds everyday whether they are perched on telephone wires, or foraging for food in a field or just sitting in a tree. How often do we say “Wow, that bird is amazing?” Probably not all that often. Birds are common in the scenery of everyday life. We then just accept them as reality and for the majority of people birds are birds.
And therein lies my excitement. This accepted part of reality all of a sudden becomes much more alive and intriguing when I take time to value it. When I take time to value and appreciate birds, I begin to see a rich beauty in the little things of nature and life. I wake up each day excited because I know I cannot control where the birds fly to, where they will eat or if they will come to my birdfeeders. There are some aspects of nature humans cannot control. When I realize that I cannot control such things, I am then that much more excited when they do choose to rest at my feeders. I find I begin to fully appreciate these little things and all of their behavior – the manner in which they can fly or crack seeds or brave winter storms. I realize that I start to find life more beautiful, not because life itself has become more beautiful but because I have become more perceptive to the beauty that I too often forget about.
But this does not apply solely to birds, it is true for everything we see in the outdoors – things that we all take for granted. The majesty of a forty year old pine tree that sits by the highway or the intricate beauty of a small flower next to an abandoned parking lot or canada geese by a manmade pond behind a shopping mall. Just because we as humans have put the ugly disturbances there does not make the nature any less spectacular. Moreover, just because we see these aspects of nature daily does not make it any less spectacular. Don’t go through each day and pass by the splendor of natural life. Think about the little things as you go to work or walk to class, and soon you will come to find you appreciate them more and more.