Writing It Down
I am in the middle of a six-week Nature Program for seniors with Emma Rooney, which continues to exceed my expectations. I always come away with material that benefits me and ultimately others.
One simple exercise is to look every day and find three good things in nature. And write it down. I have experimented with writing it down and not writing it down and there is no contest. If I don’t write it down I forget. This morning, I took the two pictures you see in this blog post. I pulled over, parked my car and walked a few hundred steps to do so. Why?
This is part of my drive after I drop my grandson Rowan off at school, and, again, when I pick him up. There are three white truss bridges, known as The Minto Bridges, crossing over the Rideau River, constructed between 1900 and 1902. Every day, as I make the crossing and the sun is shining I swear I need to stop and walk across the bridges for the sheer beauty of this area. Today, I finally got started. I walked close to the first bridge and mistakenly decided that the atmosphere wasn’t as good as I thought, so I took these photos and hopped back in my car.
However, as I drove across the third bridge, the river on both sides was breathtaking and I regretted my decision to move on. Furthermore, if I did make a long loop back to where I started from, that moment I saw, would be gone.
What Don’t We Do
What this reminded me about is how many times we think we should do something, and I will add, something that we want to do. And yet we don’t do it. Conditions don’t seem quite right. We’re not in the mood. We are not sure if we can do this thing we long to do. We don’t have time.
Yet, even my brief stop to approach the first bridge was special. I got to speak with a young man who waited for me to take a photo and told me that this is his daily walk to work. And how lucky he feels to be able to walk this route every day. “No matter what happens, I get to have a good day,” was the gist of our conversation and our mutual admiration for the scene in front of us. And these tiny moments with a stranger, where we briefly admired the atmosphere together, I swear, improved the quality of my everyday life.
What We Miss
Later, in the afternoon, as I continued noticing, I spotted the moon, suspended behind a scraggly tree (at first look) at the rowing club. I had already taken photos of the tree, but only at the end, when I thought I was finished, did I notice the moon, and took one more.
Three images in nature, on the last day of January. But, what made the difference, was my attention. I walk by these types of scenes every day, but if I am preoccupied I don’t notice. Taking ourselves outdoors, or looking from our window, and consciously searching for three good things can make all the difference.
A daily practice, costing nothing, which cultivates awareness and reminds us to take time to see the particularities of the beauty in our own backyards.
And what about those other things you decided to do but haven’t started yet? The best advice from Pema Chodreon is, “Start where you are.” Don’t wait for conditions to be right. This nature practice has an impact on all areas of our lives. Before you know it, you will be daydreaming about that guitar you always wanted to play.
We are still alive
I found this unusual and provocative quote, from the poet, Solmaz Sharif. He wrote:
“I think the duty of the writer…is to remind us that we will die and that we’re not dead yet.”
A suggestion: when you wake up each morning, you might find it useful to go looking in nature for those three good things. And you may be surprised what else comes into your line of sight that you just hadn’t noticed for awhile.
Enjoy your life.
1:) I wrote this blog post on Tuesday because Wednesday I am headed for the mountains, for 24 hours. Guest of my daughter. What a lovely gift, and lots of new things to notice.
2:) “The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” Henry Miller
3:) “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” R Buckminster Fuller
4:) I invite you to join me this week to notice three good things in nature each day and jot them down. May you be taken by surprise by the beauty all around you. I love that you show up here and read my musings. How fortunate am I. Warmest wishes and many thanks, Trudy