This afternoon, I learned two new Spanish words: “gracia” for grace… and gratitude is “gratitud” (without the “e”). So I have been mulling over the little graces in my life, which usually, more often than not, manifest as big graces.
Recently, one little grace is something my Spanish-speaking hairdresser told me the other day as she examined my hair (el pelo “hair” vs. pelitos, “hairs,” the eponymous fiction piece by Sandra Cisneros) before cutting it. “You are growing new hair [el pelo],” she said, holding up the tiny strands, about two inches long, at my forehead and temples. (Or did she say, “pelitos,” hairs?)
“New hair?” I asked. After all, I’m at an age when when women’s hair start lightening – from southern California sun-bleaching, sea-blanching, or chlorinated water – or even thinning from life-related stress. I imagined this all could be true for me, too, since I’m older with an increased duress of years (what was that popping noise in my knee/elbow/shoulder?), not to mention living in California.
“You are growing a lot of new hair,” she said. She explained how blessed I was to experience this. Many of her customers spend lots of time and money trying to find ways to grow new hair, whereas mine was growing on its own… a chia pet of sorts. Add water, light, and poof! El pelo nuevo: new hair. No, not old hair [el pelo viejo] growing longer… *new.*
Luke 12:7 – “The very hairs of your head are numbered,” a verse that says God is in the details… and the God of the universe cares about details, even little human ones, weaving grace into a brilliant design which we understand in tiny pieces, less than one hair’s breadth at a time. God knows this… Jesus spells it out for us and prays our hearts will open to receive new life.
Why am I blessed to grow new hair…
Medically, I can’t think of any reasonable explanation for this except that (1) I’m using a new shampoo with nectarine in it, but I haven’t read any research studies about the effects of nectarine on stimulating hair follicles, and (2) I’m eating seaweed with sesame seeds from a new local Asian market – seaweed is one of my favorite foods and good for hair, or (3) someone is praying I’ll grow new hair, although I’m not sure who this kind prayer warrior would be.
So I am grateful for el pelo nuevo.
Another little grace is that a female hummingbird – emerald green all over but not red-throated like the male – has woven a nest in a cluster of eucalyptus nuts in the tree before my window. She sits in her nest throughout the day and spreads out three tiny tail feathers – one, two, three – no larger than the nub of a Q-tip.
When she wants to sun-bathe away from eucalyptus shade (I imagine it minty-fragrant… like eucalyptus), she perches in the thundercloud plum blossom in front of my lanai, and preens under each wing with her needle-beak. It’s a pleasure to see this hummingbird hover outside my window, looking at me with one bright eye, and zip high and away over the bougainvillea to a destination only she knows by heart.
postscript prayer: I’ll think of a third grace soon…