Monday Meditation 1 – December 12, 2011

Every leaf and twig was this morning covered with a sparkling ice armor; even the grasses in exposed fields were hung with innumerable diamond pendants, which jingled merrily when brushed by the foot of the traveler. It was literally the wreck of jewels and the crash of gems… Such is beauty ever — neither here nor there, now nor then — neither in Rome nor in Athens, but wherever there is a soul to admire. If I seek her elsewhere because I do not find her at home, my search will prove a fruitless one.”  Henry David Thoreau

How true! The beauty of nature is all around but sometimes don’t see  what is right in front of me. I don’t  notice the changing light as the sun moves across the sky or the way the vibrant colors shift and shimmer as the sun moves. I think I have to go somewhere else — to the shore, the mountains, the forest — to find beauty in the natural world.

There IS natural beauty elsewhere, and I’ve traveled many miles to see it, but the beauty I find in my own back yard can provide the same inspiration and peace to my soul. I just need to slow down, take a deep breath, and open my eyes, my ears and my heart.

Whatever season I am in, and whatever place I am in, I can find serenity and peace in nature. Sometimes I have to work at it.

Winter brings the distraction of cold and the north wind. I remind myself to dress in layers, put on my gloves and carry a warm cup of cocoa. But winter has some amazingly beautiful sunny days that are perfect for working and playing outside! Those days I would be happy if winter lasted a little longer so I could build more fires, toast more marshmallows, and wear my favorite sweaters just one more time.

Spring brings the distraction of blustery winds, cold rain and severe weather. I remind myself that passing through spring is how we get to summer, and I focus on the little crocus and the daffodil and the ducks as they begin to fly over us again on their route to their nesting grounds. The days lengthen and warm, and the air carries the scent of moisture.  I anticipate that day in mid-April when overnight the leaves open and the world is green again.

Summer brings the distraction of mosquitoes and 100 degree heat. So I remind myself that summer days are long and filled with the bright light that my body craves. These are the days to go barefoot, days to find a grassy spot under a tree to throw an old quilt and read a mystery, days to walk in a stream or swim in a pool. And these are the evenings to sit on the patio with a cold drink and visit with friends.

And then there is fall. There are no distractions. I want to eat outside, sleep outside, dream outside, be outside. The light is changing and the leaves are repainted every day with new shades of green, then gold, then sometimes red. The south breeze chases the north breeze, leaves swirl around the house along with smoke from chimneys and smouldering leaf piles. Fall would last forever if I had my way. But time marches on, and in Nature’s way, fall means the annual life cycle is winding to a close.

Nature’s beauty is right here – in my face! – whatever the season. My wish for you this season is that you recognize this, too. Then, you’ll see beauty wherever you are.  

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