What an amazing thing choice is.
Moment after moment I stand at a crossroads and choose a path. Some of the choices seem trivial, some seem momentous, but every single one has the potential of endless impact.
The moral choices have the most obvious impact. But even the most trivial physical choices, such as taking this street instead of the next, can cause or miss catastrophe. Yet standing still and doing nothing are choices too.
It can be confusing and terrifying and wonderful and freeing. It’s life.
It’s astonishing how many colors there are and how many distinct colors have English names. A simple search led to this this page of the “954 most common monitor colors, as defined by several hundred thousand participants in the xkcd color name survey.” Almost 1,000 shades, and that’s just shades we can distinguish on a computer monitor.
I wonder if there are people who can exactly identify a shade, without comparing it to other shades, similar to the way those with perfect pitch can exactly identify a tone played in isolation. I’m definitely not one of those people, but regardless I can appreciate the wide variety of colors I see and the infinite combinations available.
Ever notice how truly bizarre English spelling can be? I’ve heard estimates that 15-20% of English words are exceptions to phonetic spelling rules. It makes me wonder why they’re called exceptions when they’re so common. There’s something so quirky and fun about silent letters, for instance. And then there’s the oddity of U.S. English using different spelling from the English used in the rest of the world, despite common origins.
Yet somehow we communicate despite all the flaws.
Today I noticed that some of our most important words, like “love” and “heart” are irregularly spelled. I find it a very comforting sign that perfection is not required for real communication and great relationships.
Today I passed by an office building proudly labeled “Kite’s End”. How odd and quirky to name a building, but it fired my imagination. At first I thought of Charlie Brown and his endless failure with his kite. In his case it was a particular tree that inevitably was his kite’s end.
Then my son informed me that there’s a bird called “kite” and he guessed that Kite’s End referred to a hidden refuge for kites. How cool to learn things from your kids?
Anyway, I love the way this building is surrounded by trees and even in its name inviting birds to share its space.
ברוך אתה ה’ א‑לוהינו מלך העולם, שהחינו וקימנו והגענו לזמן הזה.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha’olam shehecheyanu v’kiyimanu v’higyanu lazman hazeh.
Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season.
It’s spring! And right on time, the first buds are appearing on the trees. Even though it was an unusually mild winter, there’s still something wonderful about the official start of spring with the promise of new life and vibrant color.
The Shehecheyanu prayer acknowledges the newness with gratitude. And it’s not just for marking new seasons in the calendar year, it’s said at each new or rare experience, at the beginning of annual holidays, and to celebrate special occasions.
I love that it marks the moment of transition with gratitude for making it this far and for the opportunity to step forward into something new. And because I have been kept not only alive, but fully sustained and enabled, there’s the implication that I’m ready.
It’s amazing that even in the city with all the traffic sounds, it’s easy to hear the birds singing. It’s a joyous sound of nature going about its business. The birds are calling to each other, not to me. Yet even though I’m just an observer, I can enjoy it anyway. It’s beautiful.
If I don’t listen carefully, though, I can miss it. Like so many vital things, bird song isn’t loud and it won’t demand my attention. But if I heed its quiet call, it’s richly rewarding.
Balloons are another object that just equal fun. Who doesn’t like a balloon? They float and move so easily, they’re generally brightly colored, and they often carry celebratory messages . What I find particularly interesting is that balloons only remain part of the celebration while they’re tethered. They can bounce and sway, but when set entirely free, they’re pretty for a moment, but miss the rest of the party.
I think people are like that too. There’s joy and vitality in freedom, but it’s equally important to be connected. With the right mix, we can enjoy every part of the celebration.