Monday, September 13, 2010

Watching and Wondering with Woodpeckers

Last Friday, Fran started the morning by offering some pretty specific instructions. He met Claudia and I at the bottom of the porch steps and told us to be quiet. We followed him into the driveway.

"Listen," he said, pointing up into the tree.

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap. We looked up and saw a white-and-black-and-tuft-of-red woodpecker peck, peck, pecking in the tree. We stood there together, watching and listening.

It was a fabulous start to our morning. So often we are running and rushing. But today we were still enough to listen. It always shocks me when I slow down and hear the birds singing, enjoying the start of their day. It reminds me to be quiet and notice the world more. Really, mornings are just fabulous.

We took Fran to school, still talking about our woodpecker morning. After drop-off, I let Claudia play with a friend on the playground with a buddy instead of rushing home for my run. She and her friend had a blast climbing on the ladders and hiding under the turtle and dropping some pebbles in the storm drain.

When we were leaving, Claude and her buddy stopped and crouched by the grass to watch a Monarch butterfly sitting in the grass, opening and closing its wings over and over again- either showing them off, drying the dew, or perhaps preparing to fly. I watched the children stay so still, watching the butterfly from just inches away.

Claude and I then said our good-byes to butterflies and friends and started to walk back the way back to the van. I was starting to go through our to-do list and plan out a running route in my mind when we heard it again: tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap. We stopped and looked up to see a white-and-black-and-tuft-of-red woodpecker working on someone's house. I'd like to think it was the same woodpecker. I was glad to see him. He had arrived just in time to remind me to take a deep, full breath of the fall air.

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