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Small mysteries abound.

First, the escalator at Macy’s wasn’t working last week, so along with the other customers, I was walking down. Standing on the bottom step — as some sort of safety measure, I suppose — was a woman, an employee of the store. Between her feet was a shoe, so that she looked as if she had three feet. When I reached the bottom, I said to her, “You look like you have three feet.” She gave a polite, uncomfortable laugh, perhaps to acknowledge the obvious, or perhaps to humor someone who had just said something absurd. I walked on, pondering the mystery of the three-shoed woman.

Second, while I was in Florida visiting my father, I took a walk to the pond. A bird hopped down beside me and began following me — a rather nondescript bird, a little larger than a mockingbird, with dark wings, a brown breast, and a beak which looked very sharp. He hopped alongside me, and then his family joined him. Soon he flew up to a branch, but he continued to follow me, flying from low branch to low branch. I asked him if he had anything to tell me, but if he did, I didn’t hear it. My dad, who is very practical, commented later that someone had probably been feeding him, but I couldn’t help but wonder. After all, this was not a pigeon, a seagull, or even a sparrow: that is, not the kind of bird I usually associate with begging for food.

A woman with three feet and a bird hopping along beside me are probably not mysteries of the caliber of a burning bush. However, I can’t help but feel that if we don’t pause and take off our shoes before these small mysteries, we may miss the large ones.

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