The other day while stopped at a traffic light, I noticed a crow low-flying over the traffic. He flew from my right and landed near the street. He was facing my car and cawing. I could hear him through my closed car window. I hope this will make sense. The crow was looking right at me and cawing frantically. He seemed desperate to communicate something to me. Maybe he wanted to convey something to any human who would pay attention. When the light changed, I started down the road and began thinking that many people would never notice a crow like that, let alone hear it cawing. It would be delightful if more people noticed things like that.
I lived in Atlanta for many years. One Friday afternoon after work, I was going to North Point Mall to meet friends for dinner. As I drove down the exit ramp to Mansell Road, I noticed a red-tailed hawk. He was perched on top of a sign and was watching the cars go by. A red-tailed hawk will do things like that. One day, coming back from a bike ride at Berry, I noticed a red-tailed hawk perched in a pine tree right by the road at the main entrance, watching the cars go by.
I spent many hours sitting in Atlanta traffic. Many times I’d be driving down Roswell Road and notice a butterfly flitting across traffic. What a delightful thing to see on the way home from work in the afternoon. Other times I’d see a beautiful rainbow in the sky. When I noticed these things it occurred to me that most people would fail to notice them.
We are distracted by electronics: cell phones, video games, social media. There is no question these are all here to stay. However, I think they are overused.
We all need our friends and going out to eat is a good way to spend time with them. Good conversation is such a great thing. To engage in conversation you have to be a participant. You cannot do that effectively if your head is down looking at a cell phone when somebody is talking to you. We all deserve each other’s undivided attention. If we’re just going to be heads down looking at a cell phone while we are out with our friends, why do we even need to be having dinner together? I like the trend I heard of recently where friends meet at a restaurant for lunch or dinner. Everybody puts their cell phone down. The first person to pick up their phone has to pick up the check for everybody’s dinner! That’s a great idea.
Facebook. For all the great things about it, it is oftentimes a colossal time waster. The last thing I would ever do on vacation is post pictures on Facebook. That can wait until I get back. I’ve been on some really good vacations, hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and camping and day hiking, skiing in Colorado. Those are action-packed, fun-filled vacations during which I am having way too much fun to get on Facebook. I post great pictures when I get home from vacation. I’m amazed at how many people cannot wait until they get home.
Observe nature. Pay more attention. Crows are everywhere, it’s true. Nevertheless, it would be nice if more of us would notice a red-tailed hawk soaring overhead, a butterfly or a beautiful rainbow. In order to do that, you might have to put your cell phone down and get off Facebook. Unplug every once in awhile, another great idea.
Native Roman Pam Walker is a paralegal and an avid reader of Southern fiction. Readers may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.