Submitted by Nikki on Sat, 01/13/2007 - 08:00

Urgent! When the woodpecker stops at your window, larger than life and resplendent in black and crimson, pay attention! Perhaps he wants you to direct your attention to a world that is bigger than you, bigger than him, bigger than us all. Leave your tedious busywork behind. Toss aside that list of things to do, all sixty-plus items that never seem to go away, just shift from time to time. Run, don't walk, to the back yard where the light is doing something amazing in the hills, the sky is full of gold and rose and icy blue light and maybe it will never look this way again, maybe this is a once in a lifetime experience, you standing in this place and watching the sun set in just this way.

Throw yourself into the wind and see where you land. Feel the cold cutting through your thin shirt? Don't even think about going back inside to get a jacket. Breathe a big gulp of air, throw your head back and laugh. Laugh all the way down to your toes. Let the hills ring with it. Don't pretend to yourself that nobody is going to hear you, or that it doesn't matter if they do. It matters. It matters more than anything in the world. They need to hear you. They need to lift their gaze once in a while and see the flash of color outside their window. They need to let their curiosity rise and look out the window as you have done, to see the woodpecker waiting there with a crabapple in his beak and a glint in his eye. They need to fall upon the overwhelming truth that you have just inhaled: that winter is beautiful in its cruelty, and you are alive. Pay attention!

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