Here in my neighborhood (shout out for 78757!) we have intriguing, fantastic non-human neighbors. Sure, we have opossums, grackles, grey squirrels, doves, house wrens, etc. – all of whom we love and appreciate, but there are some creatures that are especially pleasing to encounter due to their uniqueness, their ability to make you holler “Hey, everybody, did you see that?!”

My family and I see, with some frequency, an albino squirrel (at least one, though there may be more) crossing the street just a few blocks north of our home. Nearby we regularly see a small family/flock of urban parakeets that frequents a particular group of birdfeeders. And, recently, in our own front yard I was doing some nighttime watering of our young trees (“Gardening at Night”) and while digging away some leaves and mulch around a tree base I rustled up some phosphorescent worms (I would provide a link here but can find no proof on the Internet that glowing worms actually exist in Texas).

Now, these features occur naturally or are based on adaptive techniques that the animals simply “do” or “are” based on genetics and a drive to survive, even thrive. They didn’t “choose” to glow green, have white fur or live beyond a rainforest. But each time I, being a human, see them I can’t help but do a little reverse anthropomorphizing and think about my various human qualities that are adaptive or can be exploited to express myself, be more myself, evolve myself.

What is my phosphorescence equivalent I should be wielding? What is my red-eyed twin I should be engaging? How do I adapt and create new ways of living when I am out of my element? AND, perhaps most importantly, how often in my life have I hidden those qualities (gifts!) because fitting in was safer or easier? (hid my light beneath the bushel)

I challenge us to stick our oddities out there more and see what happens. I want to feel good about someone pointing at me and saying “Hey, everybody, did you see that?!”

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