A Cooper’s Hawk flew into my yard and came to rest on top of a telephone pole. He sat there being totally observant. Immediately too, I heard the chirps of several birds. Now I am no bird expert when it comes to the sounds of birds, but my senses told me that the birds were calling out warnings. Squirrels began a chatter, that too, I am sure were danger alerts.
Then suddenly he soared down off his perch. He drew my attention to where he was headed. A pair of chipmunks were sitting atop the stump of a fallen maple tree. One chipmunk scurried away sensing potential doom. The unaware (or a stupid case of defiance) chipmunk was quickly snatched, and the Cooper’s Hawk was up and away with a small rodent in his talons.
I go back to work at a hospital; I see sick patients who are not aware of their surroundings. They are apathetic, aloof, and anxious. That is they don’t seem to know how their illness came about, they don’t seem to care, but they are now fearful of the consequences. They do not care to learn about their malady but instead, want someone else to provide care for them without any accountability on their part. They expect the magic pill, or perhaps the medical version of the holy grail.
It is refreshing and joyful when I witness people being observant. An attentive nurse is providing excellent care for a sick patient. When a friendly fellow customer at the grocery store is aware of your presence while I am aware of his, and we both respect each other’s space while choosing items for our carts. I am intrigued watching a toddler be alert and in touch with his surroundings. I had a most enjoyable hour recently with a young man at a local coffee shop. He is alert; committed to his work and career, he exudes enthusiasm and engages in a lively conversation. This young man will go far.
Strive to be observant, more observant, and live in the now. Some great words written long ago, make a great deal of sense and we should all heed:
In the bivouac of life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future; howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past, bury its dead!
Act,ꟷact in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!
From A Psalm of Life
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow