“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.
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:
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:
Brushes my cheeks,
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
Cascade from a culvert
Wind screams again
Pulling my hair
Up and back and sideways.
I stand tall
Head held high
What beauty have you seen in nature recently? Has nature, or God working through nature, ever transformed you?