One thing that I have discovered now that I have time off is a nature trail by my house. I guess technically I always knew it was there but I never actually had time to explore it until now. It’s amazing. Weather permitting, I try to get out there at least once a day.Each time I get to experience something new and amazing. I have heard the songs of lots of different birds and am starting to learn which are which. It helps when I can see them! This week alone, I spotted two cardinals, a woodpecker, and even a bluebird.There’s also a mockingbird I see some mornings who has a car alarm sound down pat! I’ve also seen butterflies in all different colors. My favorite was the yellow swallowtail I saw drinking from a puddle. There areflowers and bamboo growing everywhere I look, and even some wild strawberries along the edges of the trail. The other day, I even saw a deer—I came around a curve and there she was! She must be used to people because she didn’t seem startled at all. Just turned and gracefully made her way up a slight hill and into the trees. It was magical. I was so spellbound that I forgot to breathe.
At first, it was only the really obvious stuff that I saw, like the things I talked about before on the nature trail. Things that you can pick up without much observation. However, once I started looking, I’m finding beauty in other places, too. The way a patch of sunlight comes through my living room window and makes the hardwood floor glow. The patterns on the surface of my morning cup of tea.A kind expression on someone’s face when I smile at them and they smile back. The graceful bend in the stem of a tulip I picked from the yard and placed in a vase on the dining room table. If you’re looking, really looking, you’ll be surprised at what a beautiful place the world can be.
This has been a great way for me to be more mindful and to appreciate what is going on around me at any given moment. It has been relaxing and surprisingly fun. Even when I’m driving and I am stressed, I can appreciate the beauty in the nice breeze coming through the window or maybe a great song on the radio. It only takes a moment but it has been beneficial so far.
I don’t have to go to a museum or spend a lot of money on a piece of art. There is so much beauty in the world, and we’ve gotten so good at tuning it out to focus on more “important” things that we don’t know how to turn it back on when we need a moment of peace. I’m going to continue practicing this. After missing out for so long, I want to see all those lovely things that would have passed me by like I had blinders on. I am so thankful every day that the entire pace of my life has shifted and I am able to do this. I will keep up the hard work.