More Time to Notice Things

Since we moved out here three weeks ago, one of the things I’ve noticed is that we’re all actually doing more noticing.

Back in the suburban, middle-class scramble, there was no time for such a thing. Stella, my introvert-in-public, jabber-jaw-at-home, would occasionally stop me in a flurry and say firmly, “Mommy, LISTEN to me.” Mauricio would get frustrated with me about something that I could swear he never mentioned. There just wasn’t a whole lot of time to pay attention.

While there’s a ton of work to be done around here just to get us up and running, added to the usual daily requirements, things have slowed down a whole lot. It’s also hot, which kind of makes ya not want to move too quickly. So we actually have time to notice.

Stella noticed an empty bushtit nest—a stretchy, hanging sack of utter softness—in the tree she was playing under.


We noticed how beautiful the full moon looked rising above the hill, opposite the sunset.


And while we were noticing the moon, we noticed four turkey vultures that seemed to have found something worth gathering around.


As we walked closer to see what was so interesting, we found the leftovers of someone’s dinner. A hawk? A coyote? We noticed the long-black tipped ears, which told us it must be a jack rabbit of some kind (so much we still don’t know about the wildlife here).


So many things going on around us that would have formerly gone unnoticed, or at least unpursued as we dashed off to one commitment or the other:

Giovanni noticed young Western fence lizards are way faster and harder to catch than the adult ones. The young ones hear you coming sooner.

Stella noticed that turtles don’t have eyelashes. So when they pop their heads out of the water, all they have to do is blink to get the water out of their eyes. In addition, they swim by coordinating their front and opposite rear legs, as opposed to random paddling like a dog.

Cece noticed that the little shoots were actually baby Coast Live Oak trees, and not poison oak at all, like Papi said.

Mauricio noticed that the moon has been rising in a different place each night and is trying to find the pattern.

I’ve noticed that I sure have been missing a lot of important details while attending to the self-imposed ones. Even here, I’ve caught myself telling the kids, “No, not right now” to a legitimate request to go for a short bike ride together, because I wanted to unpack another box.

I’ve noticed that I still need to be more discriminating about what, and more importantly, who gets my best attention.