The Right Thing


PD: There is an image of a beautiful blue and black bird who has landed on a flat dish bird feeder in the middle of winter. The feeder is covered with snow and the bird has selected a peanut in its shell to eat holding it firmly in its beak.

The birds in our backyard know the right thing when they see it, or feel it. Landing on the tube feeder filled with a blend of white millet, black oil sunflower, striped sunflower and safflower seeds, they select one, determine its weight, and decide whether its nutritious enough to ingest. If not, it gets tossed aside. But that’s okay too, because a different breed of bird, who scavenges primarily on the ground, will discover a treat waiting there.

As I set out to write my gratitude note to my wife this morning, I picked out a pen from the holder on my nightstand. Pen to paper, I realized, “I love this pen!” It felt right in my grip, letters into words flowing smoothly across the paper, enhancing my sometimes decipherable penmanship. It’s a black ink Papermate Gel pen, I just discovered. I didn’t know it was my favorite until a few minutes ago.

Using the right pen or other writing implement is important, at least to me. It matters a lot. It affects the entire hand-writing process.

And that got me thinking.

It’s no different than writing in the right journal book. The covers of our shared journals mostly have a tree theme, because Gina and I love trees. There are many trees in our yard, ancient and just old. There are trees featured in countless art objects that decorate our walls. Inside, there are blank pages – the very same blank pages that are in many other journals. But this journal’s cover has a lovely tree painting. It matters, at least to me. Us. It’s the right one.

There are lots of other right things that I use. Here’s just a few:

The right wooden spatula – we have others, both wooden and plastic, but this is the one I reach for, even if I have to clean it first!

The right mix of essential oils in our oil diffuser – so vital, because it will be our “potpourri” for the next five hours.

The right font – I have always been partial to this one, Garamond. Isn’t it pretty?

The right ambient music to fall asleep and dream to.

The right pair of jeans, if I actually want to be comfortable.

The right tomato sauce for eggplant parmesan – (thank you Paul Newman).

In a way, this is about materialism, but the “right thing” doesn’t have to be expensive, or rare, or coveted by others. I drink my treasured chardonnay out of a box! It just has to be right for me. Us. Dare I say you?

Otherwise the task, or endeavor, or project, or pastime, or job, or meal just isn’t the peak experience it could and should be.

So, take the time to choose the right thing. Does it feel right when you touch it, see it, smell it, taste it, hear it – acknowledging that some of you aren’t able to rely on some of those senses, so you use your own methods of determining a thing’s “right-ness”, right?

It’s important. It makes a difference. It matters. 

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  1. It matters, indeed. I love this article. It made me smile. It’s so right!


    Thank you, Ned. This article made me think of some of my favorites. I, too, have a favorite spatula and three different knives. One knife is not expensive or even pretty, but its thin blade makes it best for peeling an onion. The second one is a chef’s knife that was my daddy’s. He used it for everything and I think of him every time I use it. The third is a thin bladed slicing knife. But, just now I thought of a fourth…a knife with a handle that I hold like I would hold a hand saw. It is a specially made knife for arthritic hands and it makes cutting so easy. Wow! I found some favorites in just one drawer! So, my reaction to your article makes me grateful for these favorites. Just think of how many more favorites we can find in our lives. I love you. xxoo

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