The in between
For months I have been hearing a northern cardinal singing in my yard. Last night my friend Heather came to visit and she said she saw it in the spruce tree at the end of the driveway. This morning I woke earlier than usual and I went for a walk first thing. As I was walking on the road along the spruce bank, there was that flash of red. So perfectly poised against the dark green boughs. Christmas in July. On the way home I saw his rusty coloured wings of the female flying over the field to the other trees.
Surely it really is the little things like this that make a life.
Yesterday Brenda, who used to work with me brought me in a blank book with the most incredible creamy white parched paper inside it because she knew I would love the paper like she did. She bought one for herself too. I said, "This is the kind of paper I want to write notes to people on. I want to tear it out of this beautiful book." And she said, "You can because it yours." and gave me her incredible smile. And so, I will write people notes on that vellum. I will use a ruler to tear them out so they have a nice soft edge.
Another small thing.
But these small things add up to so much. A bit of paper that feels nice in your hand, the flash of red in the trees might not seem like much but really imagine how dull life would be if we only appreciated the big things. If we sat around waiting for a big party, an award, or a gala to attend we would be the main event.
We are meant to notice the small things. The kindness of someone mending your dress, sewing a button on for you. Barb, who lives down the road, can get a stain out of anything. If I have trouble with something she will tell me exactly what to do. If I look at her like that's just too much, she says, "Bring it to me." I say no, I can do it, because I know if I follow her instructions they will work. Recently I spilled a pot of coffee on a new pair of white pants the first time I wore them so I need people like Barb in my life. You can also text her pictures of an outfit, and be sure to get the right advice on the shoes you should wear. We all need friends like this. They know that the little things add up.
On their own the little things don't seem like much. Advice on shoes? Come on really? I know it does not matter to some people, they are more about the bird in the tree. But we all have the little things that fill our days and bring us joy and keep us interested and curious. I, for one, love both the birds and the shoes.
Thoughtfulness and small kindnesses make everyones days better. They fill up a life because life is made up of the in between. It is in between the births, and the birthdays, the weddings, the celebrations, the new house, the vacations that we really get the chance to make meaning in our lives. We do not need to wait for the event to find all the things we seek there. We can find it in the ordinary, the everyday, the simple pleasures. We are meant to count these too, to take note of them and celebrate them for these fill our days and our days, they fill our lives.
- Deanne Fitzpatrick