October 25th, 2007


Elusive Birds

I'm a bit of a glutton for fun.
Actually, also for beauty, joy, excitement, comfort, love, friendship, humor, smarts and goodness.
I'm kind of famous for the line, "I only want to do fun stuff." 
And I wish I could say I was nine when I coined that beauty, but I was actually 22. 

You know how kids wish their birthday rolled around weekly? I'm like that. 
When I say to my daughters, "Yes, but then your birthday wouldn't be special," I have to chew on my cheek and uncross my fingers with effort. 

I know that some people would spell this syndrome h-e-d-o-n-ism, but really, I just understand the impulse of wanting specialness more often. Like, daily.

So, one way to make this happen is through ritual. Setting a lovely table. Lighting candles at breakfast. Filling the bath with really lush bubbles. Sitting outside as the sun sets. I'm a junkie for that sort of thing. 

But  also, we just need to cultivate the taste -- and the patience -- for the rare, the unique, the truly exceptional. So that when we find the finest wine or fall in love or stumble upon a really great idea, we notice it with appropriate awe. 

Do you remember awhile back when I posted about reading Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac?
Well, let me tell you. This guy knew a thing or two about awe. And here's our lesson for today (humor me; I like to think I'm not the only unreformed immediate gratificationist on the planet):

"There is a peculiar virtue in the music of elusive birds. Songsters that sing from top-most boughs are easily seen and as easily forgotten; they have the mediocrity of the obvious. What one remembers is the invisible hermit thrush pouring silver chords from impenetrable shadows; the soaring crane trumpeting from behind a cloud; the prairie chicken booming from the mists of nowhere; the quail's Ave Maria in the hush of dawn.... The hope of hearing quail is worth half a dozen risings-in-the-dark."

Isn't all the really good stuff worth at least that?