After April bringing plenty of showers and cool weather, spring decided to show up in full swing this first week of May. The sun was shining, the air warmed up, and the annual flood of the wetlands began to recede. Leaving for school one morning, I felt a jolt of energy because the sun had already crested over the mountain, the sky was blue, and the air smelled sweet. That morning I decided to take a different route.
Turning right, I drove up the hill instead of down the hill. Kids were making their way to various schools, in cars, or on foot, just like I was. I reached my turn off and noticed a group of kids biking to school. I felt happy that kids were still biking and walking to school and making the most of this beautiful day. One kid was leading the pack, riding in the middle of the empty road. I was just about to turn off when he or she lifted their arms in the air, as if cheering, while gliding down the hill on the bike.
They may have just been showing off “Look, no hands!” to their friends, but it looked like they were looking at something and raising their arms in a cheer. While my vehicle was stopped to let them pass, I quickly turned to look down the hill to see what he or she was looking at, and it nearly stopped my breath.
I know we live in a beautiful area, but sometimes you forget just what impact that has on your heart and soul when you really see it. I saw a valley kissed by golden light, surrounded by mountains on each side. The tips of the peaks were still frosted with ice and snow, standing strong on either side. The sky was the perfect blue, and for a moment everything felt still, alive, and magnificent. I couldn’t help the smile that spread across my face before I turned off on the next road. That kid made my day.
Naturally, I began thinking of gratitude and appreciating the small things in life. The small things are really the big things that you didn’t think mattered to you as much as they do. Often we let the day in and day out take over, we spend more time in our heads than in the physical world, and I think often we skim past the small things that make us feel gratitude. But these are the things that really count, that make you feel alive, that make you think, damn… this is what it’s all about. Like,
the sound of the rain at night through an open window
when the first seedling appears in your tray
the smell of the forest
counting how many different bird sounds you hear in the wetlands
when the first geese return to their nesting spots and you hear their honk in the distance
when your cat wakes up and tries to meow but it comes out really hoarse
the sun cresting over the mountain
a buzzing garden full of bees
seeing your first hummingbird attend your flowers
the first cup of coffee
waking up from sunlight instead of an alarm
crunching a leaf under your shoe
when a friend tells you they miss you
the smell of fresh bread
dew on the grass
water vapour rising from a lake on a warm morning
In our society we seem to need more reminders to stop and listen to the Earth. It talks to us every day! If you just stop to listen, look, and hear, you too could be the kid at the top of the hill.
What makes you feel gratitude?