Right before sunset the parking lot of my HEB is invaded by hundreds of grackles. They congregate on power lines and in trees as they poop out buckets of white glop on the concrete. The grackles’ hang-and-poop ritual unsettles me like a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds.
Yesterday morning I looked down at the dried white bird mess as I headed into my HEB, and I thought of the importance of looking up. First, make sure the grackles of the world are not perched above you, ready to drop a load on your head. Next, look up and point your nose to the sky; feel the warmth on your cheeks; squint into the sun. It feels good.
I often see people with heads bent downward locking eyes with the light of their cell phones and getting lost in their technology. I too am guilty of the head-down walk when I focus on cracked sidewalks or uneven terrain. Then when the birds chirp or squirrels chatter, I lean my head back to see tree tops and sky colors. These early spring days can fill me with contentment and hope.
The pink and orange hues of 7 a.m. can make me forget the latest school shooting, serial bomber, or disastrous mudslide. The physical neck-stretch that pulls my eyes away from a computer screen to see the sky through the window blind slats causes a total mind shift. I look up and feel less stressed for a moment.
I also remind myself to look up when I’ve misplaced my keys or phone. Instead of searching my disaster of a desk or the constant clutter of the counter space below the microwave, I glance above to catch my keys chillin’ on the bathroom’s window ledge or find them flirting with the backyard shed keys on the bookcase’s top shelf.
Yesterday afternoon I remembered to look up on my way to HEB and I caught kelly green buds peeking out of dead-looking tree branches and I saw the whispy-white trail of a distant aircraft in the sea of blue sky. And for that moment I felt satisfied and safe.
Looking down to smell flowers may be sweet, but looking up to see sunbeams is another treat. Look up, ya’ll.