While sipping hazelnut coffee at Panera Bread Company in Winston-Salem, N.C., this morning, I watched a pair of Canada geese stroll across the empty parking lot of the adjacent Fuddrucker’s restaurant.

Years earlier, before the mass migration of the majestic birds southward, this sight would have caused a stir. Now most Southerners regard them as common if not a nuisance.

Whenever I travel in mountainous areas now, the rolling hills and contrasting shadows keep my attention longer than they once did.

Every clear day of my childhood and youth offered a view of Lookout Mountain. What was once a daily sight for me is no more — so my appreciation for such a view has been heightened.

The simple reality is that we tend to take for granted that which is commonplace to us — the sights, the people and the simple joys of daily living.

Perhaps a good discipline would be to ask ourselves each day: “What part of life today deserves my gratitude — even if it is a part of most or all of my days?”

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