I was usually the first to work every day at one job I had, so I was usually the one who unlocked the doors and turned off the alarm. I had an established routine: unlock the door, open it, slip quickly inside, turn off the alarm, and lock the door back (because we needed to stay secure, but mostly because I didn’t want to deal with people trying to sell me something). One morning at first seemed exactly like every other day, but one small thing changed everything.
I had to park a little further down than I usually did so I had to walk a longer section of sidewalk. As I neared the door, I saw a piece of mulch had escaped from the shrubbery. It wasn’t in the middle of the walkway, so I left it alone. I got to the office, unlocked the door as usual, pulled it opened, and almost stepped inside. I dropped my keys. I bent down to retrieve them, and froze.
The piece of mulch was not a piece of mulch. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. A hummingbird stood on the concrete, it’s iridescent feathers caught the sun and glinted green. I held my breath and did not move. It was impossibly tiny and still and I feared it was dead. Then it took a small hop and I tried not to clap in delight.
I’m sure I made quite the sight hunched over and peering at the sidewalk. The moment stretched on and I did not want it to end. It had to, of course. In a flash the hummingbird took a little hop, beat it’s wings into a blur and then seeming transparency. It floated for a moment level with my eyes then zipped away. I couldn’t help myself and laughed. It was an easy, unself-conscious laugh. It was a laugh that did not care if anyone else got the joke. It was the laugh of a young child and something I hadn’t felt for ages.
All too soon, reality crept back. I straightened and went in, locked the door, and got to work in my office. All day long, though, I found myself thinking of that hummingbird. What if I hadn’t dropped my keys? Would I have passed by thinking this wondrous sight was nothing more that a bit of mulch? If I hadn’t looked, I wouldn’t even have known what a sight I missed.
That’s what bothers me the most. I now wonder how often I’ve passed by something amazing because I was in a hurry, or because I just didn’t notice. I think about how often I allow myself to get busy and can’t be bothered by the scenery. I know I’m not alone in this, but it’s small consolation.
How many hummingbirds have I walked past without a glance? How many delicate blossoms or dew kissed webs? How many interesting and amazing things have I completely ignored?
We walk past greatness. We walk past miracles. Every day, in the rush of our lives, we ignore the magic around us. We really need to slow our pace, breathe in the air, take in the sites, and indulge in the laughter of a child.