A conversation around the fire pit a few weeks ago culminated with profound advice for one another: Don’t blink.
My husband and I were chatting about the upcoming 18th birthday and high school graduation of our younger son and, like many parents, wondering how the years had passed so quickly.
Don’t blink, we said, because your kids will grow up seemingly overnight. That little boy who cuddled on your lap while you read “Goodnight Moon” is the same one who will now sneak out his bedroom window at midnight.
Don’t blink, because the little tyke who was once content to learn how to ride a bike now grabs your car keys and burns rubber out of the driveway.
Don’t blink, because the toddler who wouldn’t eat anything but mac and cheese will start to eat everything in sight, at all hours of the day and night.
We decided that, from here out, we can’t afford to miss anything, because we don’t want to realize years later how precious, how cool, how important it might have been. Besides, we never know how many years we have left to enjoy these people and experiences that make life the adventure it is.
Several days after this deep discussion, it occurred to me that it wasn’t just the people things, but other things in our surroundings that deserve notice as well.
The day before Easter, I walked past our open back door and caught a glimpse of movement in the grass. I thought it was a squirrel, but then I saw a chubby brown rabbit. (Of course, I chuckled to think the Easter Bunny had shown up early.)
As he (or she) munched on weeds, I debated whether to try to capture the moment or just enjoy it for myself. I quietly retreated to get a camera and then watched him for half an hour, snapping photos occasionally. It was worth the wait to enjoy his antics.
The next day, I think I squealed when I saw that there were a multitude of blossoms on the little lemon tree that we thought had been lost in a freeze this winter. I can almost taste the homemade lemonade!
Recently, as I took my first long walk of the season, I happened to see a white bird gliding overhead, and watched as he landed gracefully on a tree branch. There, I beheld the beauty of a natural rookery, something I had never noticed before on my regular walking route. Dozens of majestic white herons filled the branches of trees lining a calm lagoon.
Throughout the week, lovely little wonders continued to manifest themselves. My husband messaged a photo from our yard of small purple flowers on green stems that we thought to be weeds.
We also discovered that dozens of little green anoles (lizards) have made a home in our abandoned beehive.
And, while vacuuming the living room, I noticed out the front window that a bird house hanging in a nearby tree has new occupants. I can’t wait to hear baby bird chirps.
Especially in our beautiful Lowcountry, we are surrounded by intriguing and marvelous living things. Whether you seek them out, or simply remain open to discovery, they will show themselves.
Just don’t blink.