Monday, March 25, 2013

Inspiration Monday: Small, but Mighty

Tiny toad or GIANT paper towel?
This is Trevor the Tiny Toad. Trevor, as you can see (unless I am reading this aloud to you against your will), is a tiny toad.

Despite his size, Trevor is a pretty impressive guy. When we met, I happened to be walking through the foyer of my house and Boo, my Teacup Panther, was in full-on jungle cat mode. I followed her line of sight and saw what I thought was a fairly chubby spider floundering around on the floor, terrified that my Totally Full-Sized Panther was about to eat it up.

When I scooped up a paper towel and went to dismiss it from the house, I noticed something unusual about the spider. This unusual spider was actually a tiny toad.

He was so cute, but more than cute, he was brave. I put him on the paper towel and readied to take him outside despite the yowling protests of the ferocious Boo-cat.

As soon as he let me take a quick paparazzi shot, he immediately jumped from the paper towel and attacked my flesh-eating house panther. He jumped right toward the cat once and then again. Boo didn't know what to do with herself. She got out of jungle-cat mode and into "What the heck is going on here?" mode and actually took a step back. This cat, who took on a German Shepherd mix without ruffling a whisker, backed down from a frog the size of a corn flake.

He was small, but he was mighty. 

Thai chilies

These are Thai Chilies. I have seen specks of dust bigger than these guys, but if you are like me and your nose and eyes start running from a sprinkle of black pepper on your eggs, I would not suggest eating them. As a matter of fact, I would not suggest that you get them anywhere near your person. Trust me. Trust. Me.

These peppers are small enough to sneak unseen into a bowl of delicious, non-searing, normal food and turn your poor, sensitive mouth into a ground-zero disaster area.

They are small, but they are mighty.

Rest in peace, little friend. See you on the other side.
And then, there's Bren. Bren was named after a character in one of my young adult novels--also a small bird who ends up injured and requiring care from loved ones. I met Bren when I was out for one of my solitary walks.

It was a dark and lonely evening, just the way I like it. I was strolling right along, listening to my music and paying more attention to what was inside my head than outside of it when a flutter just to the hair's-breadth right of my foot caught my eye.

Being the huge chicken that I am, I skittered sideways and took two giant steps away from whatever tiny fluttery thing I had seen. (Maybe Boo and I aren't so different.) Once I was satisfied that whatever it was couldn't reach me, I craned my neck and squinted my eyes to see what it was I was so afraid of.

There, on the pavement and nowhere near a tree to call home, was a tiny bird still wearing his fluff and oversized baby-bill. He hopped around on the asphalt, running himself into circles that drifted farther and farther into the center of the street. I stood there and watched him until the spread of headlights froze us both in time like a nuclear flash. I was still two giant steps away from the little guy, and he was oh-so-barely not in the dead center of the road. My heart skipped every one of its beats as I dashed over to scoop him up.

The truck turned off harmlessly in the driveway a couple of doors down, and there I stood with a cheeping, chirping, injured baby bird in my hands. I had a choice to make. This thing had scared the stuffing out of me twice--once for my life and once for his--and there was no going back. I named him and he was mine to care for, just that fast.

I searched high and low for his nest, prowling through neighborhood yards with a flashlight and daring someone to come out in a bathrobe and ask me what I thought I was doing to their trees. Finding none, I called every 24 hour vet in town until I located a wildlife specialist who was as crazy as I was and allowed me to bring him to her home at 10pm.

She took him in and cared for him, but the head injury that landed him almost smack underneath my foot ultimately won out, and the world lost the best, brightest bird it ever would have known if he'd just had the chance to prove it.

Some people think of starlings as pests, but when I see them, I think of that tiny bird and our strange, anxious couple of hours together. I think of how I loved him instantly and completely even though it confirmed that I am a total nutcase.

He was small, but so, so mighty.

There is inspiration everywhere, but sometimes we tend to focus on the big things: the epiphanies, the in-your-face bright lights and gut-punches, the heart-making and heart-breaking. I challenge you to squint up your eyes and look a little closer at some of the smaller things in your life. Cock your ear to the whispers and see what you hear. There is so much to take in that we just don't have the time or vision to notice.

There is a whole other world hiding beneath the obvious. Though it is small, it is undeniably mighty.

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