Monday, March 8, 2010

“…drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.”

When I was a kid, the idea of a tumbleweed was a foreign, romantic thing. They were those weird round things that blew across the road in old Westerns, across the brown landscape before the camera panned to Clint Eastwood who chewed a piece of straw in his firm-set jaw. So imagine my surprise last night when I drove home from work, and due to the recent windy weather, along one stretch of road there were ten or more tumbleweeds lined up along the sidewalk, some as wide as five feet. In Las Vegas tumbleweeds are common, but this many in one place caught my attention and I wished I’d had my camera.

So I wondered, how many things that used to be exciting or exotic are now commonplace or every-day? Or vice versa? Those tumbleweeds were so novel that after visiting me out West one summer, my Mom took a tumbleweed back to Indiana in the trunk of her car. She shared it with her rural Indiana elementary students and then hung it from her porch ceiling, where it stayed as a sort of natural art display.

Palm trees are another exotic element of my daily life; we have two in our front yard. But as a kid, I remember driving to Florida for summer vacations and leaning forward from the back seat, trying to be the first person to see a palm tree. They symbolized the start of our vacation from normalcy – the beginning of swaying palms and salt water.

The other day I saw a robin sitting on a tree branch outside my office window at work. It was the fattest robin I’ve ever seen, and I stopped and watched him for a long time. I’d never seen a robin in Las Vegas before – I thought they didn’t live here. It was nice to see this little touch of home, and it reminded me of seeing these orange-bellied birds in Indiana and knowing that the first time you saw one, it meant Spring was here.

So, FYI, Spring arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday, March 4.

Once again, the Universe has sent me a little nudge to pay attention to the little things – to remember those things that used to give me childish excitement. To recapture that feeling by noticing what I have. This summer, I think I’ll add a palm tree to the back yard - might as well bring some more vacation to our everyday life.

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