to be simple, to be free

Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

~Shaker dancing tune, 1848


Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life
is the foundation for all abundance.

~Eckhart Tolle

look up, look around

Pinched for time last evening and in a hurry to get home before rushing to my next responsibility, I was stuck in traffic. The second hand in my brain shrieked, Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! to no avail. A hostage, I glanced up through rain-spattered glass…

0193_Look up, look around

And then I saw them – a magnificent flock of geese. Thirty birds, maybe more, soared serenely over my temporary, insignificant plight. Their perfect “V” form and wild, unhurried beauty erased the walls of my self-imposed prison, and I relaxed into the moment.

Hours earlier, I had posted Emerson as my quote of the day: Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting. . . 


I scribbled the lines above in my journal over three years ago. What strikes me most about the entry is how vivid the memory remains. I can still see and feel every bit of it – the helplessness of being at a standstill in traffic when I was required elsewhere, the look of my rain-pebbled windshield, the majesty of the great flock that soared above me, the way my stress sank to its knees and surrendered to the timeless beauty of wild geese in flight…

It’s a moment I happened to set down in writing, but even if I hadn’t penciled it into my journal, it would live with me still. I find that whenever my path intersects with nature, the moment seeps in, my inner fire reignites, and the lessons I draw remain.

The natural world reaches out to each of us, every day. But let’s face it, life is demanding. We have jobs, obligations, responsibilities – we care for aging parents, we nurture the sick; we volunteer, show up for meetings and events; we punch a clock, ferry our children to and from practices; we rush headlong from one thing to the next.

Modern life sets a breathless pace, to be sure. But if all we do is run, we will run down. When it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day, when circumstances collide and conspire to overwhelm us, it’s of vital importance to take a few moments for ourselves and connect with the beauty of the natural world.

When the pressures du jour worry and weary you, pause for a moment, look up, look around…

For you, the first rays of returning sun offer the gift of another new day; birds take wing across your skies; sunset opens its arms to you; moonlight whispers a benediction.

Nature is the soul’s power source; her outlets are many, and access is unlimited. Do yourself a daily kindness – open your eyes, plug in, and recharge.

0193_Look up, look around 2


[This post is the third in a series of five in a 5-day Photo/Story blog challenge. I was invited to this challenge by my friend, Kristine, who blogs regularly at candidkay.]