Yet, I see today after a walk in a new area of my space that there was beauty I had missed for not slowing down and seeing it from a different perspective. Just a bit from my house there is a sweet country lane I drive by nearly every day, and often think, I really need to go walk there some time. I took time to do that this morning, and wow.
The lane is a curvy 1.5 mile loop that varies in elevation, giving some tired muscles a chance to work a bit. It passes a century old cemetery, old farmhouses and runs beside a couple of creeks. Its edges are currently lined with masses of green foliage, beautiful wildflowers and blackberry bushes. My walk was cool, and just breathtaking.
The beauty drove me to confession.
I confessed that I hadn't taken the time to slow down and see this sweet place before, though its gifts have been just so near me. I haven't slowed down enough to appreciate the beauty of the place, or appreciated the wildness of it all. In my fast pace of driving through a few times, I have just seen a blur of green and pretty houses.
Slowing down let me see not a mass of green foliage, but hundreds of variations of greenery, and mixed in, tiny black and red treasures of maturing and ready-to-eat blackberries. In the slow, I found three different kinds of white flowers, which from the rushed view of the mini-van just looked like generic white blurs. I found that the black-eyed susans I have appreciated from the car actually have varieties, both unique en masse on the side of the road. Because I was moving slower, I got to taste the blackberries and pick a bunch of flowers and greenery to bring home. I was able to appreciate the sounds of the creek on either side of me as I walked. I got to stop and take the smells of the green and the honeysuckle. It was so strong.
I got to ponder the fresh grave sites at the cemetery, and pray for the families they represented. I thought about the empty house that I know just lost its owner after a tragic fall and sudden death, and I prayed for his family. I saw details of these old farmhouses I have lusted after, and saw lives lived there, passions for gardening and signs of life happening.
I stopped several times to ponder the scenes from the side of the road. I had passed all this before, but had not slowed to see it all.
It brought me to a new place of understanding in regards to the connection between slowness and appreciation of things.
Slow down - for in the quick beauty is out of focus. In the slow the beautiful becomes clearer.
Simplicity for me is about slowing down enough to see the details - to appreciate the gems hidden in the brush, that we would not see if we passed quickly. It is walking, instead of speeding by in the mini-van. It is varying our pace, depending on the hills and valleys - allowing for our body to set the pace, and work how it needs to in order to manage things well. When my legs are doing the work, I take the time to slow down on the uphills, and so much more appreciate the downhills.
When we walk, instead of being driven, we can see the inclines coming and know to breath deeper and forge onward - and, we look back to see where we have come from. We can appreciate both where we have been, and where we are going so much better.
Slowing down our lives allows us to see the details of it. It helps us to take in all the things - the sights, smells, sounds and hidden gems. Our kids aren't like every other kid in a blur of the younger generation, they are unique and growing like weeds on the side of the road. The houses may look like structures in a landscape, but when we slow we see people and lives being lived and lost. We don't just see the highlights of color in our life, we get to ponder them, mull over them, appreciate their variety and pick them to wonder at them for a bit longer.
Let's slow down, friends - lest this beautiful life is missed, and just becomes a blur on the side of our crazy roads.