I was walking with my wife down a forest path several days ago when she abruptly stopped and said "Beauty!" This is still disconcerting to me after all these years: conversation interrupted, rhythm broken. I turned back and she was bent over looking at the ground. "What," I asked?
"A spider." A who? Sure enough, there was a tiny, elegant black wolf-spider on the ground. With a pine needle she spurred it off the path, because a family with several children approached.
I can be walking with Louise most anywhere, and she will abruptly stop and take a photograph. She will see things that I do not, and when I stop and reorient my mind, it's always a pleasant surprise to me.
I've not always been so focused on the task at hand to miss the beauty surrounding me. After spending graduate school and post-PhD working frequently in the desert, I came to appreciate the beauty there. What someone from the forests of Virginia might find desolate, I could find immensely aesthetic. Like the iconic twilight-bioluminescence transition in the movie Avatar, after awhile you can become aware of more than you first see. My recollection of the Venezuelan jungle is like this, and I only regret that I didn't take more photos while I was there.
The point I wish to make here is that wherever we are - walking, sitting still, in a conversation - we can still choose to be more aware of our surroundings. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to see the elegance and beauty in a grasshopper, but Louise is already there. On my part, it usually requires stopping, something not natural for a very linear, ESTJ personality. I'm always trying to get somewhere. I invariably miss what I'm traveling through in the process, and there is a lot more in between than there is at the end.
Hold still a minute. Breathe. Look again. See.
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