Look Closer

I go on a mile walk around my neighborhood almost every day, and I have since last summer. As you can imagine, I started to become bored with seeing the same houses, same streets, and the same dogs barking as I walked by.

One day, as I grew more and more bored with the landscape, my inner voice reminded me of something. She (my inner voice) can be a real pest if she happens to be stuck in ego and in a mood to be frightened about every little thing. This time, however, she was in a more empathetic mood. “Jo,” she said, in a kind and gentle voice, “It’s never the same walk. Look closer.”

For a couple of walks, I tried to follow her advice. I looked more deeply at the houses, at the dogs, at the cars, but to no avail. “What exactly am I looking for?” I asked in frustration. You can probably guess the answer, “Just keep looking.”

Then one day it happened. I felt as though someone had dropped me into the scene in the “Field of Dreams” movie when the annoying brother-in-law suddenly sees the ethereal baseball team on the field.

“Where did all this come from?” I asked, surrounded by the beauty I share with you here.

 

After that epiphany, I was on a mission, as I am prone to do whenever I experience an awakening. I began looking for and photographing Mother Nature’s beauty in every walk I took, and that beauty was always there……always.

Of course, in the fall, how hard can it be to find beauty, right? Rich golds and oranges, late-blooming flowers, and that azure Colorado sky. I swear there just isn’t anywhere else in the world with skies as blue as in October in Colorado.

But, what happens in November when all the leaves are gone, the sky turns gray, and shades of brown and beige dominate the scenery? Her answer?  “Look even closer…….and, listen.” This time I didn’t hesitate.

You may know that trees are magnificent sentient beings, but did you know they will talk to you if you stop long enough to really listen? That’s all I’m going to say about it; just listen.

Well, okay, I’ll give you a hint – they don’t use words. They deal instead in the language of the heart – enough said. Just listen.

While stopping for a moment to listen, look as well. They each have their own individual “wrinkles” that we call bark, and we take it for granted. They are deep grooves that seem to hold stories about the things they have seen over their vast existence. Here’s what I saw:

 

 

By the time winter rolled around, I needed no nudging.sunset

Then came spring, and with it, a crazy world turned upside down. For a while, I walked in a surreal daze trying to grasp this new reality. My inner voice became obsessed with gathering information as though being informed would help win the battle over succumbing to sheer terror. I kept walking……..and walking…….and walking. Soon enough, my inner voice calmed as she always does. I began to think of her as my “inner friend.” “Jo, look closely. It’s there.” And, there it was:

 

dandelions
And yes, even the beautiful sunshine-yellow dandelion. From my perspective, they have become a symbol for a new world order. One in which we see things differently and what we used to call worthless or annoying is now rich with beauty and substance.

These days people are fond of the assertion that “This too shall pass.” I tend to agree. Just as Mother Earth moves through her seasons, so shall we move through this experience. Don’t believe me? Look closer…….and listen.

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