The lyric made famous in “The Sound of Music” song “These are a Few of My Favorite Things” has played like a rather painfully broken record in my mind the last few weeks. In the well-known family saga, Julie Andrews relied upon the song, extolling the virtues of everything from brown paper packages to whiskers on kittens, to calm the Van Trapp children in the midst of a terrible thunderstorm. Having this song stuck in one’s head is not something I’d necessarily wish on anyone, although it surfaced when I was considering a few of my favorite things. Gifts all, but not garden variety presents.
On a recent trip to the grocery store I pointed out a bunch of gladiolas to our oldest, wistfully explaining they were her grandma’s favorite flower. She looked at the long stems, barely starting to bloom, and wondered why anyone would like the strange looking spears. That was enough to prompt my purchase of a bunch of barely blooming pink glads, excited to share with her the secret my mom had shared with me many years ago. Within a few days the flowers had popped out along the stems and our daughters became enamored with the unique beauty of the flower that is a family favorite. Seeing them appreciate the blooms loved by the grandma they never met, but will now remember each time they see the odd looking stalks, makes these flowers a favorite I am pleased to pass along.
Always a sucker for one of Summit’s orange sunrises, or the pallet of pinks that sweep through the skies on a summer evening, I never really gave much thought to light during different times of day. At least not until one good friend shared with me her love of twilight, that meeting place between dusk and dark. Her appreciation for the still of early evening comes to mind frequently now, when the light starts to dim over the horizon and a sense of calm envelops the landscape. The beauty of this time of day is something I’ve overlooked through the years, and I am grateful she shared with me her love for the evening light.
Years ago on a canoe trip down the San Juan River a friend abruptly stopped our conversation mid-sentence, telling me simply to listen. At first I heard nothing but a bunch of birds chirping, not too surprising considering our locale, and certainly not as important as what I thought I had to say. But then, out of the background noise emerged a cascade of whistles that echoed off the canyon walls. It started high, ended low and was distinct from every other bird’s call. “It’s the Canyon Wren,” he exclaimed, “and that call is one of my all-time favorite sounds.” He went on to describe the wren as a smallish, rather dull looking bird — but boy, can that baby sing. Just last week I again heard the song of the wren as it echoed through a distant canyon, and I took a moment to appreciate that call, and my friend’s willingness to stop the talk, just to listen.
In each instance I confess I have stolen one of my favorite things from someone willing to share their own love. I far prefer however to view each as a gift that can’t necessarily be repaid, but instead passed on. And, in this day and age when it’s so easy to share a gripe or complaint, these gifts remind me that there’s a flip-side. We probably never know when sharing something we love might surface in the future, so there’s good reason to pass along the good stuff as well. Although now that these thoughts are down on paper I really (really) hope the song I’ve shared will leave my head.
Cindy Bargell is an attorney and mom who lives outside of Silverthorne with her husband and two daughters. She welcomes your comments at Cindy@visanibargell.com