To get to 3G -- which is the short-form for the RBC Child and Youth Mental Health Center at McMaster Children's Hospital -- you traverse a long corridor. On one side is a reception and waiting area for various out-patient services and the other side is lined by windows which overlook what, I imagine in all of the seasons but winter, is a lovely courtyard space. There's a mural painted on the windows just now, a montage of woodland creatures doing woodland-creature things with garlands and whatnot. One of those woodland creatures is a hedgehog who is, evidently, celebrating a birthday.
Last week, on our way back to the elevators after one of girl-child's appointments, we passed a family group heading towards the out-patient services area. With them, was a small, bespectacled boy of about perhaps five or six. Just as we pulled alongside them, the little boy caught sight of the birthday hedgehog. He immediately was overcome with the most pure and unadulterated and utter state of infinite Joy that I've ever had the good fortune to witness. Apparently, he also was celebrating his birthday and the fact he and the hedgehog were both having a birthday filled him with absolute delight. He was ecstatic. Utterly and completely. I've never seen anyone quite that happy. And he was declaring his happiness to everyone around him, drawing all of our attention to the incredible coincidence of the shared birthday.
I was quite verklempt, I can tell you. We all were. Every last person around him was beaming like the village idiot. It had the heart-bursting effect of putting a face-splitting grin on my darling girl, who's been struggling so very much this last while. It was one brief, shining, moment that pulled us back from despair, recalling us to the notion of hope.
Later, as she lay beside me in bed, doing her nighttime meditation as I read my book, she told me how hard things were just then, how dark it is and how much she's fighting to hold on.
But then she smiled and said, "But when things are bad like this, I'm going to remember Hedgehog Boy and I'll be okay."
The ravens are back. I was a tiny bit worried there, for a while, as they seemed to have come and gone. But nest refurbishments have begun and, very importantly as their neighbour, the declaring of air-space. And not a moment too soon, as a Cooper's Hawk made free with our hens. Such beautiful creatures, hawks, but oh-so-very designed for killing.
Also, red-winged blackbirds have been both heard and seen. They're the first wave of the spring returns.
Then, this morning, the trumpeter swans flew over.
I'm repeatedly awed and humbled by the smallest things, these days. Perhaps the days have been just so fraught with worry that I'm eagerly clinging to anything, no matter how seemingly unimportant, that reminds me that there are greater powers at work in the world. I was always one for the moving statues, but now it's less a case of needing proof than it is reassurance - a reminder of my firm belief that we never truly walk alone.
And in return, I surrender to the miracles in the ordinary. Because, some days, that's all I can manage.
But as it turns out, it's really no small thing at all.