It’s really true what they say, sometimes you must stop (or at least slow down) and smell the flowers. Life moves faster than the speed of light and if you don’t put on the brakes occasionally, you might miss the best parts.

At the end of my bike ride this morning, a small bird made a flyby, slowly diving into a lazy turn alongside me, almost bumping its little tush into my helmet, only to fly off into the distance, increasing altitude and speed.

I couldn’t clearly see what type of bird it was, because it was dark out, the sun still struggling with the night to get those first rays of light seeping into the dusk hours. But the shape and size suggest it was probably a yellow oriole.

I felt like the bird hadn’t miscalculated the turn, but simply dropped in to give me a friendly, ‘good morning to you’ salute. It made me slow my pace (just a bit) and I became more aware of my surroundings.

Usually, I’m so focused on pedaling at a ‘heart-popping-out-of-my-chest’ pace, to be able to keep up with the boys, that I don’t truly notice anything else around me, except for maybe potholes, cars, other cyclists, stray dogs and early morning joggers (almost ran over one of those once, but that’s a different story!).

But now I was suddenly hearing at least a dozen different bird calls all around me. It made me wonder if they were each reaching out to their own species or if it was a general call-out; the bird community starting their day with a ‘Good morning y’all’.

It was a beautiful sound, and as I picked up my pace again, the medley of songs accompanied me the rest of the way home, cheering me on. It was the best playlist I ever listened to.