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I see the point of a soft pink triangle that cuts between two pine trees to the southeast, and a sparrow lands on a bare branch just outside my window. I peel back the Target-bought shabby chic quilt, the white one striped with pink roses, and slide from between crisp white sheets, careful to not disturb the cat curled next to me. I slip on my fluffy white robe, pocket the Droid, and creep downstairs in search of slippers.
I love the tiptoe moments of the morning.
When the house is quiet save for the hum of the fridge.
Before the grandgirl begs me to please pour her Trix and milk.
Before she plops on the couch, turns on cartoons and fires up the sound on her Kindle.
Before D rattles dishes, turns on the news, and wants to discuss which bill to pay with the corn money.
Before the day’s loud descends.
When I can just sit in the stillness and ignore the to-do list.
A bluejay pecks at ice, so I run hot water in a pitcher, step into the cold and pour slowly into the bath, watch a small hole form. The basin overflows. I wonder if the birds wait and watch, if they’re grateful I’ve met their need.
I set the pitcher on the concrete, rock top from metal can, and scoop black oil into Tupperware. The usually skittish chickadee waits until I can almost reach out and stroke a feather before it flutters to a nearby bush.
The sun has exploded in the triangle, and I gasp at how the frosted ground glitters with many colors.
I could have missed this.
I hurry back to the garage, toss plastic back in seed, replace lid, and give an extra push right and then left to critter proof. In the back kitchen, I shed slippers and retrieve my tall black muck boots from the dust under the pine bin. With camera in tow, I head for the yard.
I breathe deep of fresh and snap, snap from different angles, try to capture the jewels spilled before me.
For a moment, I remember my mom and how we wrapped her well and wheeled her out in the November chill. How she’d stare at baubles in the blue refracted by the scratched lens of glasses for as long as we (my dad and Sissy and I) could stand the cold. “Sunspots,” she called them. And I wonder at how that was only a glimpse of the treasure laid up for her–for us–by the Father of lights.
"Once a nurse, always a nurse," they say. But now I spend my days with laptop and camera in tow as I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. I'm a Michigan gal, mom to two, grandmom to two, and wife to one. My husband and I live on 50 acres in the same 150-plus-year-old farmhouse he grew up in. I love this quote by Mary Oliver, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." That's how I want to live. And I'm still learning how to be. Still.