Spanish language breakthroughs, very tall flowers, wonder, and bird drama

President* Trump,

Maybe I’ve missed bunches of other such WP articles, but this morning is the first time I noticed an article presented in Spanish. It’s the editorial by Dan Balz about how Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his VP running mate is both historical and the safe one, which appeared (and I read) in English yesterday. It could have been about pretty much anything and it would still feel like another good, if small, radical shift. It’s buried several screen scrolls down and so it’s not likely to catch many people’s eye, but still, for the WP to publish an editorial in Spanish feels like a big deal.

I just now saw this and so I’m still kind of processing it and what it might (and likely doesn’t) mean in the grand-ish scheme of things. For now, though, I just feel a bit giddy that the WP is shaking things up in this way and really wish I could be a fly on the wall when you and Stephen Miller carry on about how this is further evidence that America is doomed. I don’t think a single WP editorial published in Spanish is going to get either of you riled up enough to have some sort of cardiac event, but you never know.

The thing I’ve been thinking about since yesterday morning to write to you about is quite different. It has to do with the abundant very, very tall flowers along some of my morning walk routes and how much I love being in their presence. There’s something really different about being near very tall flowers (like sunflowers, matilija poppies (fried egg flowers), anise, tall coreopsis, tall Rudbeckias) than being near tall trees (though Redwoods inspire an entirely different sort of awe). Regular old tall trees are ubiquitous and they’re supposed to be taller than adult humans, but for the most part, flowers aren’t all that tall and so it’s fairly unusual to feel dwarfed by them.

It’s this unusual feeling of being physically humbled by something that’s not the least bit threatening that I’ve been enjoying. To get to look up into a sunflower’s face or to need to be very still to be able to study the petals and “yolk” of a fried egg flower because it’s well above my eye level reminds me of how much bigger and more complex the natural world is than I can ever fathom. Somehow when flowers are more typical, regular, size, it’s much easier for me to take them for granted and not stop and think about how little I really know about them or their place in the bigger scheme of things. It’s the ones that tower over me that pull me up short and get me to hit “pause” so that I can enjoy feeling small without feeling diminished in any way, which is a feeling I highly recommend as it’s associated with a good dose of the nicest sort of wonder.

Before I close, I want to tell you real quickly about some backyard bird drama that happened just now. There was about five minutes of very loud, very insistent bird alarm coming from our ornamental cherry. During that five minutes a couple of chickadees flew out, then a robin, then a crow, and eventually a blue jay. Super strange. Plus, there were three hummingbirds hovering around the outside of the tree. It was wild – literally! Because of the dark, dense leaves I couldn’t see what was going on in there, but it seems a safe guess that somebody’s nest was being violated.

Maybe after everyone’s had a chance to regroup (somewhere else?), I’ll stand under the canopy and see if I can see anything. Given my history with crows, though, I definitely don’t want to be seen as an intruder. Feeling awed by tall flowers overhead is one thing, but interesting as they are, I’ll leave the crows (and blue jays) alone.

May we be safe to experience some wonder.
May we look for such sustaining opportunities.
May we boost our strength and health by opening ourselves to feeling small in good ways.
May our lives unfold, open, and intersect sustainably.

Tracy Simpson

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