Some people blow out candles and wish.
Some people close their eyes and pray.
Some people cross their fingers and hope.
I watch everywhere, all the time, for three things.
They rise up before me–these tiny miracles–tucked into ordinary settings. Had I been looking the other way, I would have missed them. But I wasn’t. Nothing about that seems random to me.
I deem it necessary.
Otherwise, surrounded as we currently are with wildfires, hurricanes, a pandemic, and volatile politics, anyone could surrender to hopelessness.
I believe in surprising signs. When everything is dark, it’s easy to look past them. The challenge is to see them, to stay alert for wonder.
One evening Maggie and I walked the dog across the town square. Everything seemed the same. Green grass. Red brick gazebo. Wrought iron benches. Except for a burst of yellow. A giant moth rested on a tree trunk. No one else noticed it, but we stopped. Even the dog stood amazed. Naturalists could explain our seasonal discovery, but I only cared about the unexpected, golden brilliance on wood.
As I clipped dying leaves in the garden, I discovered a large spider. We both stopped moving. Normally I’d be afraid. Not that day. She’d spun a web and laid her eggs in my day lilies. Who wouldn’t want their babies to awaken among burgundy petals? (I did, however, consult our neighbors to make sure she wouldn’t hatch poisonous children. Rob asked for a description, researched her, and gave the all-clear sign. Beth hoped for a “Charlotte” message. Maggie assured me that she was a spider who offered good deeds.) Unlike E.B. White’s Charlotte, she did not weave a remark, but her hopeful, motherly presence, inches beside my face, was comment enough.
I try to walk each morning, knowing I’ll feel guilty all day if I don’t get exercise marked off my list. I headed north, wishing I were already finished, when I spotted a perfect peacock feather, a glistening exclamation point, marking what could have been an ordinary day. Sometimes I forget that a peacock mysteriously found his way to our Midwestern town, bordered by forests and farm fields. Inexplicably, he appeared, unconcerned about providing answers. He typically sleeps in the enormous tree I passed, and last night, during his adventurous bright blue dreams, a feather floated down.
Beware magical thinking, some would say. I understand.
But I live to be amazed by three good things.
Stay alert for what WOWS you. I promise it’s out there.