Little Miracles
From InfoAve Premium - Issue #175 - February 23, 2007

The last few weeks have brought the worst of winter to my little town - endless days of frigid weather -wind chills of 25 below zero - and a blizzard that dumped over two feet of snow on us. Winter, the great conspirator, has conspired to make my daily walks a challenge. And also, very uncomfortable.

So, after weeks of punishing and unrelenting winter weather, it is with great pleasure I report to you that my little town has seen moderating temperatures of late. Not that Mother Nature can fool me at my age, because I know she has more surprises ahead. But, this week has been a much needed and welcome respite from Old Man Winter's grip. It's not that we're having a heat wave by any stretch. It is still a task to walk outside. Trekking thorough huge piles of dirty, slushy snow - the remnants of the storm - and puddles of water laying on the sidewalks from the melting snow, isn't conducive to walking. Never-the-less, I walk on.

Whether I'm crazy or recalcitrant is for you to decide. All I can tell you is that I have managed to keep walking through it all. Sometimes, not as far as I'd like and certainly not as often as I'd like, but there is a lot to be said for perseverance. It is not often easy to leave the confines of a warm, dry house and venture outside when the winds are blowing with fierce intent and temperatures hover near zero. Still, I've walked nearly everyday this winter -so far - regardless (or should I say in spite?) of the weather. I'm glad that I have managed to keep the promise I made to myself to take a walk everyday. Good Lord willing, I will keep on keeping on.

But more than good exercise, walking leads me to discovery. And thanks to the recent moderation in the weather, I've been able to take substantially longer walks and these longer walks have allowed me to make new discoveries. This week, for example, I've discovered what I call, "little miracles".

I've not seen any sick people instantly and magically healed. I've not seen any miracle workers make fire appear from the sky. I've not witnessed any miracles that the word "miracles" normally conjures up. But miracles are not just the ones you read about - and the ones you have most likely never seen. We've all seen miracles. Maybe you just didn't recognize them. There are little miracles all around, and they are every bit as much miracles as those marvelous, incredible big miracles that most of us never see.

I bet you have little miracles all around you too. Take a look around - you will see little miracles everywhere.

Frozen life, buried until huge piles of snow, is now visible. The tiny shoots of crocuses pushing up through the cold mud, are little miracles. Once frozen solid and buried for days and days under deep piles of snow, their little green leaves are a reminder to me of the miracle and the tenaciousness of life. These tiny green shoots are little miracles indeed.

A couple of days ago, it was particularly windy. It was so windy in fact, it was difficult for me to walk into the wind. But, looking up, I saw a flock of birds flying northward in a perfect V. Though they were flying into the teeth of the strong winter wind, they appeared to float effortlessly above me - moving with grace and ease through the winter-blue sky while I struggled to walk on the ground below. I stood and watched them until they flew out of sight and marveled again at the wonder and variety of life - little miracles.

The trail in the woods that I often walk through has been impassable for quite a long time this winter. And, I miss that part of my walk. But this week, finally, I was able to navigate my way along the trial and see "my woods" again. Like an old friend, it seemed familiar to me and walking on the trail again felt good.

As I along the trail, which wound through the still-sleeping trees of winter, the ground looked brown, black and lifeless. But looking closer, I realized the dull, lifeless woods, were very much alive. Small black squirrels scurried along the forest floor, oblivious to my presence, and doing whatever it is that black squirrels do this time of year. Whatever they do they do in a hurry. I imagine that they might be foraging for food - or perhaps they were getting ready for spring. Whatever they were doing, they were very busy and seemingly unbothered by the sound of my footsteps as I walked along the forest path. I smiled as I watched them: tiny miracles all.

I am sure as spring approaches, there will be many more little miracles for me to see, if I only take the time to look: The greening grass, that first warm spring breeze that says "spring is here!", and trees, once dead, slowly awakening again to life.

Many people will tell you that they've never seen a miracle, but I believe they have. They just don't recognize them.

Miracles are not so rare. Just look around and you will see all the little miracles that surround you. Your children; your friends; your pets; your memories; a bright blue sky; a perfect spring day; a tulip pushing its way up through the frozen ground; a flock of birds, a sailboat on a lake as smooth as a mirror; a child flying a kite; a beautiful fiery sunset; the twinkling canopy of stars on a dark, clear, winter night; are little miracles. The little miracles we take for granted everyday. Have you ever thought of them as miracles before? They are all little miracles. Little miracles are everywhere. All you need to do is open your eyes.

Maybe little miracles are not so little after all.

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