Present – May 2020 Update

Today I’m joining Honoré at Morning Glory Studio with her One Little Word link up. We gather on the last Tuesday of each month to share a few thoughts about our word of the year. My 2020 word is Present and here are a few links to catch you up on my progress so far:

I was all ready to update you on the little goals that I’ve been working on this year – cutting clutter, reveling in daily life, stepping away from my phone – but today’s post is going to be a little bit different. It’s about that picture from Friday:

I posted my recent close encounter with a pileated woodpecker. I got lots of compliments on this picture, but there’s a story behind it and it was a last minute addition to Friday’s post. I first thought the picture was a total dud and almost deleted it as soon as I tapped the shutter on my phone.

I took this picture on Thursday morning. I was outside before 7am with my two youngest kids. The morning was awful – lots of crying from the kids and Bug was back in a book ripping mode. I’ve had a really hard time getting Bear (my oldest) out of bed all week, so I just left him IN bed that morning and took the younger two outside to play. They walked around with the bowls of Goldfish that I’d been plying them with for breakfast (yes, it really was THAT kind of morning) while I studied my rosebushes and practiced taking deep breaths.

That’s when I saw a big shadow fly over. I quickly looked around and saw this woodpecker on the utility pole just a few feet away. I pulled my phone out of my pocket, swiped up for the camera app, zoomed in to the utility pole, and tried to angle the phone to catch a good picture of the bird. He (or she?) had hopped to the opposite side of the pole and I knew that s/he would fly away if I tried to walk any closer. So I snapped a quick picture (the one above), hoping I’d get the crest or the tail feathers or something to prove to my husband how close it was.

As soon as I tapped the camera, it flew away. I tried to look at the picture, focused on the utility pole, and could see nothing. It didn’t help that Birdie had been playing with my phone earlier in the week and cracked my screen, so I mostly saw shards shooting across the picture and not the actual image.

I almost deleted it. Why would I want a picture of a utility pole? But I held on to it, just in case I’d be able to see a little red of its crest after my appointment to fix my phone later in the day.

I forgot about the picture until Friday morning when I was just about to publish that post. I hovered over the publish button and then remembered one more picture that could be a funny little just-missed moment. I opened the photos app on my phone and zoomed in on the utility pole. Nothing. I lifted my fingers and let the picture fall back into place. And then I saw it!

At first my phone was cracked and I couldn’t see the whole picture.

Then I was looking in the wrong place and only had to adjust my focus.

I had caught that amazing woodpecker in mid-flight.

There’s so much to pick apart here and I’m not even going to try to be thorough.

But we’re all doing the best we can. We don’t have the full picture about what’s happening – so much is being shrouded by political forces that we feel like we can’t control. We’re focusing on the areas we think we should be focused on, but how do we know there’s not something else right outside of the frame? If we stay present, live in each moment as it comes, and continue to do the best we can, then we’re going to see that something beautiful was taking flight in our lives as soon as we can adjust our focus.

In June I’m going to practice staying in the moment and trying to capture the joy in the little things around me. Maybe sometimes it will just be a boring and ugly old utility pole, but who knows what else it could be?


18 thoughts on “Present – May 2020 Update

Add yours

  1. This is such a great post, Katie! Your experience with this photo is a perfect metaphor for life in general and the current circumstances in particular. There are so many things to worry about and pay attention to at the moment that it’s hard to remember to pay attention to what’s right there in front of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Juliann – I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      I got your card and cord yesterday. Thank you so much for sending it to me. My TN seems like a brand new notebook now – it’s perfect!!


  2. What a story, beginning to end! I was so curious, couldn’t figure out what the subject of the picture was on the link party page 🙂 Makes me wonder how many times I’ve thrown the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Probably more times than I’d care to know!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love everything about this story and it has made me stop and consider how many times I am not seeing the whole picture. Oy… too much of the time. This is exactly what I needed. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! What a beautiful photo and a perfect reminder to be present – your word. I think your woodpecker is a female, by the way. The stripe under her bill looks black. On a male, it would be red. They are beautiful and impressive birds!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Laurie! And I had no idea how to identify male/female – so thank you for that, too. The woods behind our house sound full of these woodpeckers – their call is distinct! – so it’s fun to see them more closely every once in a while. 🙂


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