I recently read an article about a single penny being worth more than a million dollars. There are billions upon billions of pennies though, so how would you know which one it was. It is a rare 1943 Lincoln penny that was accidentally made from bronze instead of zinc-coated steel. Someone would see how different the penny would look without this zinc-coated steel. I found this to be quite an inspiration to really look at things instead of just seeing them.
With this new born thought tossing and turning in my head I tried all week to see how this could apply in daily life. When I drove I took a stronger interest in people that were on the road with me. When I walked my dogs I noticed things that I had never really noticed before. When I worked at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve I saw things that made me sit up and take notice.
The people on the road with me generally did not have smiles on their faces but wore intense, worried looks that pressed the brows into a contortion that was quite noticeable. Not too long ago I remember being fussed at by someone that I passed on the road and neglected to wave at. They had noticed that and had taken to time to bring it to my attention.
I am fostering two very old dogs that Jana, my daughter, introduced me to through a program called Second Chance. I have always heard that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but these two learn something new every day. The one thing that they learned is going for walks. They quickly adjusted to their leashes. They know which side is theirs and they know when I put certain shoes on that we are about to do something that they love to do. Going on these walks each day and really watching them showed me that they were doing more than getting exercise. These two little ladies were enjoying socializing with some of the other dogs that walk the same route that we do. They were having fun! Each dog would let the other know it had been by and each dog that came after that would “mark” the same area.
When I went out this week to The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve with my daughter, Jana, I noticed that I was excited to get out there and start clearing out the dead brush and hauling it to the parking area. I enjoyed sharing time doing something that seems to make a difference. Last week we also worked on clearing dead brush and after the rain shower, tiny sprigs of grass were shooting up in the areas that we cleared. Rabbits were everywhere munching on the tender vegetation that had suddenly become abundant. As we drove up the Preserve road to the parking area we saw these bunnies and it warmed our hearts. The backdrop of this scene included multiple yellow and orange flowers that had literally popped up since the week before. As we put on our gloves and headed up the trail to clear more brush there was a purpose for what we were about to do and it showed in our step. Everything seemed more alive.
As we worked it reminded me of the Saturday before when six of us worked hard for hours. Yes, it was work, but it was fun. I now know why my dogs enjoy going for those long walks. I know why people wave and want to be waved at. I look at the difference at the Preserve. There were plants that just seemed to overtake others. These that were more proficient were spiky or stickered, thorny or pokey. They were like the things in our day to day lives that keep us from seeing other people even though they are right there. It seems like they get us from every side and even hurt us. This causes us to back away. This gives them the freedom to take over our lives.
I am not looking for that rare 1943 Lincoln penny valued at one million dollars that was accidentally made from bronze instead of zinc-coated steel. I am looking for a smile, a wave, a dog teaching me new tricks. I am looking for memories that even a million dollars cannot buy. All of the dead brush and thorn covered plants that are removed gives way to new life. There always will be some thorns to contend with, but we should never allow these to crowd out the beauty of what is right in front of us.
That beauty sometimes is expressed in the small but breathtaking emergences that are happening around 7:30 P.M. at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve. Call the bat hotline for more information @325-347-5970. See ya at the cave!