One foot out the backdoor I heard it. I squinted into the early morning sun—I couldn’t see it—but it was there. A hummingbird.
Later I left my desk for a quick walk. I’d timed it poorly, students spilled out of classes from every direction into the mid-morning sunshine. As I wove through the crowd, a monarch butterfly swooped and danced with all its gravity-defying glory before me. It fluttered across my path a few more times over the next hundred yards oblivious to the human hurry.
I veered onto a less populated path energized by spring’s tantalizing nearness. Even so, I increased my earphones’ volume to drown out the cars pulling into the parking structure I was skirting, but a sound cut through podcast and echoing engines alike. My feet stopped and my head swung to the left: a belted kingfisher perched on a bare tree branch on the far side of the creek.
I reached for my phone to take a picture—I only took my eyes off the bird for a second—and when I looked back the branch was empty.
But before I could search further, my phone rang. I resumed walking as I finalized a change to my car insurance with an agent a time zone away.
It’s how it happens, isn’t it? Glimpses of beauty flash before us, teasing our senses, interrupting the noise of the everyday. I caught three, but how many did I miss? What tree was bursting into bud and I walked right by? What color was the sunrise I slept through? Were there shapes in the clouds I never looked up to see? What scents were on the breeze I turned my back to?
Spring is coming—beauty is here—ready or not.