Beautiful Bits of Life (1)

Some pieces of beauty I found this week; I’m glad I didn’t overlook them.

1) My daughter takes piano lessons, has for about a year now. I love that she fills the house with music because even though she always has a set lesson to practice, she also improvises beautifully and composes some of the most lovely pieces you’d ever want to hear. This week she was working on a version of “Ode to Joy” which was haunting in its simplicity. On Tuesday, she sat down at the piano and her teacher asked her to play the song. My girl played a bit of music — nothing that was on the page — then turned to her teacher and explained, “That was an introduction. It needed something more.” And I snorted, quietly shaking with laughter in the background, because, yeah, of course my daughter thinks that Beethoven needed a little help with his composition.

2) I’ve been bemoaning the fact that some recent spring storms have scattered small twigs and branches across the yard…twigs and branches that I will have to clean up, in addition to all the leftover leaves that have been blown down. I want to like yardwork…but I really don’t. But then, in the middle of our history lesson yesterday, I looked out the window and saw a blue jay, hopping from branch to branch with a bit of twig in its beak. It was using the bits to build or reinforce a nest, I guess. Something beautiful from something broken.

3) I’ve been cooking for so long now, I sometimes forget what a magical thing it is. To take simple ingredients and combine them and create something delicious to share — it’s a gift. And this week, I got to watch my daughter start unwrapping that gift. She’s always helped me in the kitchen (we used to joke to Kevin, “What’s better than one girl cooking for you?…TWO girls cooking for you!”) but she’s starting to explore cooking on her own. She asked me for some cookbooks to look at, so I handed her a couple of kid-friendly ones and sent her on her way. A few minutes later, she strode purposefully in the kitchen and began gathering a few things to make “Salad on a Stick” — some lettuce, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella chunks, and basil leaves, all skewered onto a toothpick. Her enthusiasm was contagious and her face glowed as she ate her masterpiece. What began as a truly boring lunch of tossed-together leftovers became something more when we shared the kitchen and created gifts of nourishment for each other.

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