August and I recently walked home from church, literally stopping to smell all the roses (well, pant on the roses, as he hasn't quite figured out sniffing). A bird fluttered down on to the sidewalk about a dozen feet in front of us and August gasped, flapped his hands, and whispered twa-twa!
"Oh, shhh." I said, "You see the birdie?" We took a few soft steps closer and crouched down to better look at the bird as it hopped towards the grass, occasionally pecking at ants and things.
"What a special gift to see a bird today," I whispered.
As the words left my mouth, I was struck by their truth and simplicity.
Today, the best thing that could happen to this little boy was seeing a bird.
My junior year in high school, I had a baby sister who was one year-old. I remember going on walks with her while she gasped and pointed at birds.
In a literature class at school that year, I remember a (kind of heated) discussion on the merits of being like children, and experiencing the world with wonder.
I argued (using my baby sister as an example) that children were better at appreciating and noticing the beauty of the world and that we should try to take cues from them. We should allow ourselves to be delighted and awed by the world we live in.
The other argument of course, was that children have no perspective. Everything seems wonderful to them, even a bird on the sidewalk. They have no capacity for understanding the world objectively.
Ten years and three children later, and I hold to my view point.
I don't think the world gets less wonderful as we grow older and see more of it, I think that we become more blind to its beauties.
I love to read poetry and books, because I feel like they remind me to appreciate the world.
But my children do it too. Sometimes, it is the gift of seeing a bird. Sometimes, it is just them. Sitting shirtless, eating ice cream after dinner.
As my dear friend Laura once said, “I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”