One Lovely Thing

I’ve been feeling the darkness and the depth of winter this week. Lots of sadness in the air. I’ve been trying to push this aside as I plow through a deadline, but then I decided to take a little break…

I opened the back door to smell the air and was stunned to feel the warmth of the sun on my face—in January! I closed my eyes for a few seconds and listened. Beautiful sounds: Water pattering on the deck from snow melting on the roof. Beeping nuthatches. A gust of wind through the spruce trees.

Right after I stepped back inside, a flock of cedar waxwings swirled down into the crabapple tree. As I watched them feast on winter-wizened fruit, it occurred to me how much it helps to notice at least one lovely thing every day.

What amazed me is that once I noticed the first thing—the sun on my face—more loveliness flooded in: the sounds, the birds, the interlacing shadows of branches on snow. And this all happened literally in a minute or two.

As Mary Oliver wrote, “If you notice anything, it leads you to notice more and more.”*

What loveliness have you noticed lately?

*“The Moths,” in New And Selected Poems by Mary Oliver, Beacon Press, 1992

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