It was barely 5:00am when I stumbled out of my room because I thought I had left a light on all night. Turns out it was just insanely bright because the sun was rising. I sat and watched it, marveling at how beautiful the colors of the clouds were as the sun got higher and higher until it popped over the treetops.
As I sat here, thinking about how long it has been since I woke up early, completely stopped what I was doing, and watched the sun rise. Ok, granted, where I live you have to drive somewhere to see the sun rise because there are very tell trees and my apartment is on the sunset side of the building, but you get my point.
Why is it that we don’t make more of an effort to absorb the natural world? Yes, I know some people are outside all the time…but are they actually doing it to be part of nature or are they just using the temperature and weather to accomplish their goal of 10,000 steps or training for a race? How many times have you seen someone out for their daily exercise on their phone, or with sunglasses on and earphones in? People say they are going outside to be in nature, but then I see them ignore it. Let me not exclude myself from this predilection. I also go for walks with my headphones in or go with a friend and spend the entire time talking and very little, if any, time absorbing what is right in front of my face.
I actually didn’t think about it at the time but as I was coming back inside, it’s almost 90% humidity so my tolerance for extra time was low this morning, I stopped on the way up the stairs and thought “Wait, I just watched the sunrise” and realized how long it has been since I stopped to just enjoy the outdoors instead of using it for something. Which, as I sat down to start working on my novel this morning, made me stop and think again. How often do I think I’m doing something healthy and good for me and then undo at least some of the benefits of that choice by not actually taking advantage of what the day has to offer?
I recently found videos from ten years ago when my nephew was three and he is climbing a tree and showing me a bug’s exoskeleton (he’s super smart what can I say?) and crawling around pretending to be a turtle and when I asked him why, he told me it’s because he was one. My niece too, she would do all the science experiments I bought them and run around picking up dandelions and rocks and making us look at them because there was something different about each one. They were really truly seeing the world. I look at what’s out my window or what I walk by, but how many times do I actually see what I’m looking at?
Which is how I found myself really looking at what was out the window as I was having breakfast. I saw baby turtles, their tiny noses poking up above the surface of the water, I saw geese and their goslings float by; I saw a waterlily opening; I saw a giant frog that was literally so big it left a wake as it swam by, and I saw dragonflies flitting from perch to perch. I also saw the leaves on the trees moving in the soft breeze and heard the wind chimes which are hanging up outside, as well as the bulldozer working up by the road. I watched the clouds scudding across the bright blue sky and saw all kinds of birds swoop and swirl in the air, calling out to each other in so many voices.
I’ve spent my vacation so far trying to figure out what to do. I brought things I wanted to bake, a craft I wanted to try, and my computer of course, but just didn’t feel like starting any of it and was starting to wonder if I even remembered how to be on vacation. Isn’t it funny how stopping for a split second and recognizing where you are can have such a profound impact on your day? I invite you to stop and think today and see what you notice in your world.