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Seeing the invisible

For the last two and a half weeks, I've been trying to get a picture of a red-headed woodpecker who has been visiting my birdfeeder. He's an uncommon bird in my backyard and the first time I saw him I thought it was probably a rose-breasted grosbeak, also an intermittent visitor with similarly bold red, white and black coloring. The first time I saw him, he came, snatched up a seed and flew off. The second time, I knew what he was and I've been trying to get a picture ever since. Instead, I got an easy-peasy picture of a common chipping sparrow. I see them ALL the time. But my woodpecker? Oh, he's there. Somewhere. I know it even though I only catch a glimpse of him from time to time.

It got me thinking, though. I realize that birds hide in plain sight. I can hear the chattering of sparrows who have nested in the sign above the coffee shop everyday. It sounds like so many but it's often only two or three squawking at each other. You only have to look up and take a moment to see who is who up there.

There are lots of things -- lots of people, too -- we ordinarily don't see in our ordinary lives. The cashier at the grocery store. The waitress who brings our meal. The bank employee who processes our direct deposits. The tow truck driver who removes the smashed-up car that's blocking our way home. The hospital worker who washes the floor. The teachers, the nurses, the secretaries, the caregivers...all the helpers who barely make a living wage. Suddenly deemed essential. Can't live without them. Hiding in plain sight the whole time. Essential. To. Life.

The coronavirus has given us all a superpower; we can now see the invisible. The invisible virus itself has taken the lives of more than 38,900 U.S. citizens -- since January 1 this year. One hundred and fifty-nine thousand, worldwide. Very visible.

Invisible doesn't mean unimportant. And, certainly, visible doesn't mean important. You are important. You matter. What you do matters. And now; you have a superpower! You can see the invisible. You can see the invisible for the rest of your life!! Now, like every superhero, you have to decide if you want to use your superpower for the benefit of yourself... or for the benefit of others.

Choose wisely, my child.

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