It was my mother’s tradition, and she passed it on to her kids. She tried to let us absorb sights that we probably would never see again. And she would usually say, “Look closely. You might not get a chance to do it again.”

Northern lights, the hatching of a luna moth, bits of nature, spring flowers perfectly encased in ice after a storm and glistening, astronauts and presidents — she made sure we understood that any day that included them was noteworthy.

Buffy and I are still likely to pull to the side of the road if we are driving and a cloud looks exactly like an elephant, or a flock of robins (!) is perched on a diner roof in northern Arizona. No explanation is ever needed, and we both just understand without speaking that we are continuing Mom’s quest to appreciate it all while it’s there and we have been lucky enough to stumble upon it — whatever “it” happens to be.

When the wolves came to nap out of the heat under the scrub oak trees where I was staying in Prescott, I sat at a safe distance the entire time they were there, and I just watched. And watched some more. I saw them breathe, and the little bits of fluff that always seem to be in the air in the summertime in the mountains drift by their pointed ears. And I thought of my mother, who would be saying, “Look closely, girls. Make sure you remember this.”