Finding Beauty Wherever We Are

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” – Ashley Smith

In my visits to a local arboretum, I often see people I know. During the past week, two of them said to me, “This is my church.” These people are churchgoers, but I knew what they meant. There is something about the beauty of nature that touches us and changes us if we pay attention.

A few months ago, I had finished shopping at Aldi’s and was putting away my shopping cart. A woman said to me, “Look at that sunset!” The sky was the most beautiful fluorescent pink with deep purple clouds. I drove home marveling at how beautiful the sunset was, and that I’d almost missed it.

We get in our routines and forget to look. Recently I was running at a forest preserve and was preoccupied with checking my I-phone for my mileage and running time. I also was looking at the path to ensure I didn’t step on a squished frog or in a pothole. What I wasn’t doing was noticing my surroundings. So I paused and looked around me. A beautiful, large blue heron stood among greenery at the edge of the nearby lake. As I watched, he lifted up and flew away. I’d almost missed seeing him.

blue heron at Danada

We go to art museums to see paintings of landscapes but we forget to look at the real thing. God is the master artist. How often do we stop at look at His paintings and sculptures? And do we reflect on them as we do with museum paintings?

Being in nature lifts my mood and often puts my worries in perspective. Even when I start a walk feeling irritated or stressed, I end it feeling soothed.

In my post Dealing with the Doldrums, I wrote about how a visit to the arboretum lifted my bad mood. A reader commented, “Wish I could afford to just go somewhere too.” But we can find the beauty of nature anywhere, even at a retention pond. We just have to stop and notice.

In the U.S., Queen Anne’s lace is thought of as a weed, and there is a lot of it at a retention pond two blocks from my home. Here is a picture:

qeen anne's lace for blog post

Is that not lovely? If you really look at a dandelion, it is pretty also.

I wrote a poem, which was published in the Prairie Light Review literary magazine, about that retention pond and the transformative beauty of nature. I’m sharing it with you:

Stormwater Pond
Wind shrieks,
Brushes my cheeks,
Subsides.
Clouds of slate slide
Across the dreary sky.
Daring the storm to strike
I beat a steady pulse
On the pavement

Ducks with emerald heads
And golden beaks
Strut past dry reeds
Into the glistening pond.
Tiny silver peaks
Ripple across
And diamonds
Cascade from a culvert

Wind screams again
Louder
Pulling my hair
Up and back and sideways.
I stand tall
Shoulders back
Head held high
And stride

What beauty have you seen in nature recently? Has nature, or God working through nature, ever transformed you?

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About Susan Ekins

Freelance writer and blogger at Women Making Strides. Interested in personal leadership and empowerment. Wanting inspiration and to inspire. Leader in church ministries. Blog: http://www.WomenMakingStrides.com/ Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/WomenMakingStrides1
This entry was posted in Beauty, God, Gratitude, Nature and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Finding Beauty Wherever We Are

  1. Oh, Susan, this is so fitting and timely for me, especially as we start to feel the slow emergence of Autumn. I love this. Your poem is so lovely and touches so many emotions and moments I have felt in nature. Than you for sharing it here. I always smile when I know you’ve posted; this morning, I’m smiling with a few tears of joy.
    Just this morning, early, wandering about in the garden, I noticed a remarkable spider’s web. While trying to photograph it, a red fox trotted past me, too fast for me to adjust my camera, which is just as well for I don’t think I would have enjoyed the moment as richly if I had not “been in the moment”.

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  2. Sarah says:

    What a nicely written piece, Sue, and a wonderful reminder to take a good look around on a daily basis!

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  3. Cathy Gorski says:

    When we do our final meditation in my weekly yoga class we are told to go to our favorite place in our minds. It could be a beach or a mountain, but for me that favorite place is our deck. We spend a lot of time working in our yard in the late spring and early summer so that we just sit and enjoy it all summer long. We have a small goldfish pond at the edge of the deck and many flowers, both perennial and annuals. We have several bird feeders and a hummingbird feeder and we have many birds in our yard at all times. It is amazing to sit out there and just listen to the birds in the trees. At any time I would guess the 4 large Maples in our back yard have a minimum of 5 varieties and dozens of individual birds at the same time. We have identified dozens of varieties of birds go through our yard. We have 3 varieties of woodpeckers in are yard alone, 3 varieties of finches, and many, many more. On weekends I take my morning coffee out there and each and every evening my husband and I take our evening coffee out there and just sit and enjoy the birds and watch the change in the flowers and other perennials. We watch the clouds change colors in the sunsets and identify large stars in the night sky from our deck. We love to camp and be outdoors, but we don’t really have to go any further than our back yard and our deck. In my yoga meditation I am sitting there in the warm sun, with my husband, with the goldfish swimming in the pond and a hummingbird buzzing at the feeder. I can go there even in the deepest parts of winter in my meditation

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  4. Dawn Herring says:

    Susan,
    Noticing what is around us is so key to awareness and being in the moment. I do this when I go for my walk; it takes effort since rambling thoughts are often a distraction, but looking up helps! We must be on the look out for these beautiful moments or we will miss them!

    Thanks for the lovely reminder. And Beautiful poem!

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn

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  5. Sheila says:

    Susan, thank you for the reminder to notice the sunsets. I ask myself how many sunsets I have left to see and realize how precious each of them are. Sunsets are daily masterpieces sent to us from our Creator.

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