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The excitement of each new day

Every morning I wake up to the chirping and trilling of our little pet birds. The finches are ready to start the day—and they think I should start mine, too.

I can hear their excited noises as our four finches jump and fly around the cage. They want food. Now. Please. Or maybe not even please. Just food. Food food food food!

They call out with urgency. Don’t I know it’s time to eat? What could possibly be taking me so long?

Finches are not known for their patience. Few pets are.

It’s funny because our little birds have birdseed and water in their cages all the time, so it’s not that they are physically hungry. They are eager for a little attention and a daily food delivery. They want someone to come, switch out the old dishes, and bring new water and food for the beginning of a brand-new day.

I pull myself out of bed and turn on the lights to start feeding them, taking away the dirty dishes and sliding clean bowls into the cage. We chatter at each other as I deliver fresh bird food, corn and peas, some hard-boiled egg, and pure, clean water.

It’s always the same menu, but the birds greet it with sheer excitement, leaping into the dishes, jockeying for good spots on the fresh corn on the cob, jumping into the bowl of seeds, tossing droplets of water into the air with their beaks.

For this crew, breakfast is always a joy—and it comes sometimes with a bit of birdly competition. Then they settle in and dine.

Whoever created the phrase “eating like a bird” didn’t have zebra finches waking them up in the morning. They feast quite happily, tossing corn, peas, and seed out of the cage, plowing through the food, and plunging into the water bowls for a bath. It’s a beautiful, spirited process.

I don’t share the birds’ love of mornings. I would rather sleep longer and then ease slowly into the day without the specific pressing agenda of delivery to their cages. But I love the energy they bring to each day. And I appreciate that they give me yet another reason to get out of bed.

As 2021 winds down and we look toward 2022, I find myself wondering what will be different and new in the days ahead. When we turn the page to a new calendar year, what fresh discoveries will we find? Will there be new opportunities—and maybe even challenges—that we can only imagine in these waning days of the year? How will this new year change us? How will we bring about change ourselves?

We can’t know today. But I like to think maybe we can greet this new year with the same joyful anticipation as these little finches. They find beauty and opportunity in those first rays of dim winter sunlight slipping through the windows. They rejoice to discover the same food they eat every day. And they embrace each day completely focused on now.

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