One of my favorite things about spring is the return of so many birds to my back patio. I love hearing their joyful chirping early in the morning. I filling the bird feeder and then sitting and watching them come feast. They are like familiar friends who faithfully visit each year. This picture is from last spring, right after I had filled the feeder for the first time in the season. The simple pleasure of watching my feathered friends return each spring feels normal in a world that is anything but normal right now. As I enjoy my spring break at home this year, I am focusing on the small, simple things that bring my heart joy. Filling the feeder and waiting for my friends is one of those things. I’m encouraging each of you to slow down – even for just a moment today – and find joy in the day. Much love!
This morning I am gazing out my window from my desk, enjoying the sunshine streaming in. The anticipation of spring hangs in the cool air. I am in awe of nature and the effect that it has on me. I am reminded of a writing assignment I once did from the Capstone course I often write about. The assignment was to take myself on a date. Just to spend the entire afternoon with myself and then to write about it. Of course, I chose to be out in nature. I’d like to share that piece with you.
This time of year is my favorite time of year, especially in Oxford. The leaves are boasting their brilliant fall colors, providing a beautiful backdrop for our every day lives. I decided to treat myself to this beauty with a walk through the trees at Heuston Woods. I parked near the Sugar Camp area, grabbed my journal, my water, my sweatshirt, and my cell phone. I found a trail and just started walking. I made a conscious effort to use all of my senses, paying attention to every sound, smell, sight, and texture around me.
The first thing I notices was all of the sounds. The way the leaves crunched under my step. The slight sound the twigs made, snapping and breaking as I trampled them. And then there were the birds…I wish I knew anything about birds to identify them as I heard their songs. I felt like an intruder in their world as I listening to them converse back and forth in the treetops. I’m almost certain they were talking about me as I invaded their landscape.
Next, I paid attention to the smells around me. I have not found an adequate word that describes the smell of those crunchy leaves scattered on the ground except to say that they smell just like fall. It is a familiar smell that conjures memories of childhood days rolling around in piles of them without a care in the world.
As I strolled down the path through the woods, I took special notice of the variety of trees that lines my path. Again, here is where I wish I had more knowledge of my world around me and the trees that watched over me as I walked. There were many different types as evidenced by their unique look, shape, and feel of their coats of bark. Some were smooth and sleek, while others were rough and worn.
After walking deep into the woods, I found an old stump – a natural bench just inviting me to sit down. So I sat with my journal in had, seeking words to do justice to the beauty that enveloped me. What I realized as I struggled with my pencil was that rather than to try and recreate this scene with words, I just needed to sit and enjoy it. So there I sat, my date with me, just soaking in it.
I don’t take the time to engage my senses like this enough. Rereading and sharing this old piece of writing has stirred in me a desire to take myself on a date again! I encourage you to do the same. Find something, somewhere that inspires you and take it all in.
“Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God.”