Once I’ve come out of the woods into my neighbourhood, my eyes shift from watching the snow melting in streams and the patterns of tree branches against the sky, to noticing the small details of people’s domestic lives.
I feel moved by the small things.
By a gardening glove discarded in a flower bed or a child’s swing hitched to the high branch of an old oak tree. By a grandfather building a treehouse for when his granddaughter comes to visit. By how one of our neighbours changes the wreath on her door to celebrate each season and holiday of the year – a heart for Valentine’s Day, a green Ribbon for St. Patrick’s, a garland of golden leaves in the fall. By a rainbow flag to let us know how someone feels about themselves and their place in the world. By a bench placed at the end of the driveway, not to serve the house or its family but for a passer by who might be weary.
I love these small things.
There’s a tree on the crest of School Street, a long, long road that runs a few blocks away from my home. It stands outside a house that has all kinds of small details that I love and that give me clues about who lives there, but it’s the bird houses that I always notice. The fact that there isn’t just one bird house but a whole collection of them: I love the generosity of this and the abundance. It speaks to my heart too, which, as my husband will tell you, always over-caters: food, fairies for my daughter’s fairy garden, board books for potty training my toddler, notebooks for my writing. When I fall in love with something I find frugality hard.
So, I love this tree full of bird houses and I can’t wait to see who will come and nest in them this spring.
And I love all the small things that populate people’s lives: that they have purposefully left out for us to see, like a calling card, to say: I was here; this is me and this is how I live. A bit of small magic.