In part by my nature, it was a long time before I truly learned to find the beauty, to hold reverence, for the tiniest of details in the life around me. If it wasn’t some kind of grand adventure or marvelous miracle, it didn’t as easily capture my attention. Endless views from mountain tops, saturated fields of flowers as far as the eye can see, and the rarest of sightings sang a certain siren song. They still do. But after a particularly stressful time in my life many years ago, I learned to practice looking for any shape or size of beauty around me to distract my anxiety ridden mind. At this point in my life, I’d say it’s not only second nature for my eyes to always scan my surroundings for what is always there if we just take the time to see it, but it’s become paramount to my sense of connection and well-being. And the surest way to find gratitude for what is. For me, there’s as much, if not more, magic in the seemingly small details of the life, and lives, which surround us.
The sunrise stretching through the Ponderosas first thing this morning turned a frost-covered Young’s Hill into a fairy land:
It’s hard to believe the difference a week can make here in the mountains. Last week I posted this photo of Jody, Burrito, Foxie and I marching toward spring:
Today, with Jamie:
Jamie, Burrito, Missy and Jody out for a crisp morning patrol:
Missy spotted her dear friend, Annie, below and zoomed right to her:
As I stood outside taking in great gulping gasps of the crispest of air, my face turned skyward watching a huge juvenile bald eagle soar overhead, one of our returning Say’s Phoebes swooped low over my head and perched near me singing out as if to announce, “I’ve made it! I’m back!” And we chatted about their winter and their much welcomed return. Their sudden presence a sure sign that no matter what is happening in our human lives, in this big ol’ world, the rivers are still running, the wind still blowing, the birdsong still returning. Everyone is gathering once again.
Even the tiny details of caring for the chimpanzees or cleaning their home bring the most fulfillment and sense of presence. Little things, like knowing which lazy Susan Burrito and Foxie like to sit on during meals, or which corners the chimps to build nests in and making sure not to leave puddles of water there after cleaning. Knowing that Jamie likes her carrots peeled. Knowing that Willy B loves his leopard blanket above all others and Honey B adores the huge wolf blankets to drag into the chute where she can be “outside”, but still wrapped securely in the warmest blanket nests. Knowing that Mave might not appear that she wants your company, but will bounce like a maniac the second you try to leave because she really wants you to just sit near her and enjoy a spell of companionable silence. Knowing that before bed, Foxie often wants to toss you her doll du jour to hold one last time before she asks for her back, lies down and nest grunts “good night.” There are endless magical, heart-filling details, a single one with the power to make an entire day the most magical marvelous miracle.
Cleaning the playroom yesterday, I found one of my favorite Jamie nests ever. It was creatively tied to the caging of the window the sunrise was streaming through and made of many of what seem to be her favorite colors: red, orange and pink. Boots tucked here and there, including the tiniest of plastic boot ornaments from their Christmas tree, and her beloved XTRATUF boot book:
And this! Jamie tore this tiny photo from the corner of a page in one of her books and carried it tucked into her pelvic pocket for days and each morning I’d find it tucked into her nest. No one but Jamie can say for sure what she finds particularly intriguing about this photo over the zillions of others she has, but it doesn’t matter. Something in the details mean something to her:
Here’s sweet Honey B enjoying the details of her nightbag this evening:
And speaking of beauty in the details, don’t forget about the art contest benefiting the sanctuary being held by our local visual arts center, Gallery One! Voting began today (and runs through March 14th)! One winning design will be chosen by a committee of Central Washington University students in the Primate Behavior and Ecology Program, sanctuary staff and board members, and up to three designs will be People’s Choice awards (that’s you!!). There are so many wonderful and creative entries so be sure to check them out and vote for your favorites here! Winning designs will be announced on March 15th and will be printed on merchandise to benefit the sanctuary!
Good night, all. Rest well. Wherever you find yourself in life, may you notice, even for a moment, the beauty that surrounds you. The seemingly smallest of moments that string together the most mystical tales and magical lives. One day, one tiny detail at a time, pulling us forward like every wild thing.