I’ve always really noticed things. Things other people might not. I noticed the way the kids ran to greet me when I got home. I noticed the quiet gestures in pats of the hand, gifts of vitamins, the way his eyes crinkled, the way she laughed, the way he cried, the way she worried, the way he called to say “drive safe!”
When I moved away, I noticed a lot, too: the vibrant smells and colours of the city, the flavours and spices of food that I’d never tasted before, the way the waves lapped up the sand like hungry pups, the way the people didn’t say hello – and the way they did. I could escape into my senses, into feeling, seeing, being. I was alive. It was marvellous.
I loved the city. The ocean. The peace, the salty air, the distance from my problems and memories. When I moved home inland, I realized that I couldn’t just be unhappy with my situation; I needed to be thankful. I needed to love being here, because this is where I am for the time being.
What I didn’t realize was that being away from home, and on my own, had awakened my senses and being.
You know the feeling? Or maybe you don’t, because you and I are probably in our mid-twenties, early thirties even, but let’s imagine for a second that either of us has been married for forty years. We’ve become accustomed to the body and face and person that sleeps next to us, that smiles at us every morning, that kisses us at night. And then one day, things click, they do something or our hearts change or something, you decide, and our beloved is thrown into an entire new light. We see them. We see their heart, laughter, passion, sorrow, personhood, and all the beauty surrounding.
That’s how I felt coming back here. Suddenly, beauty was thrown at me from every way. The sunsets. Sunrises. Lakes, shores, mountains, rivers. Sunlight catching on corners. Rain on my eyes and dirt in my hands.
My eyes could see so much beauty now.
This “seeing” things, “being” outside, really being has saved this season of life for me. Being outside, noticing all the beauty, being captivated, pulled, pulled, pulled, pulled, pulled back to earth, reminded of who I am – made of dust, human, real. These are good things, this is a good thing – this wild, balancing, grounding earth.
And so I’ve fallen in love with the earth.
In love with sunsets, which point to the glory and light. Sunsets that pick me up from drowning in my pain and stress and show me beauty. That draw me up and out and away. That take my breath away when I can’t breathe anymore, and fill my lungs with fresh, fresh air from millions of evenings and nights and mornings and the breath of millions of women before me who have kept moving through the dark.
In love with mountains, which make me feel small. When the tornadoes are circling and the dust is flying and the clouds are darkening, all I can see is the storm and the fire and I can’t remember where I am. Can’t see that the mountains are so much taller and so much wider than the wild vale, that the clouds are a mere veil for the sun and the skies.
In love with water, in rain, lakes, creeks, rivers, waterfalls. Crashing, thundering, leaping, playing, skipping… lying quietly in the valley, welcoming, whispering, washing.
In love with such tiny insignificances: colours of the leaves, colours of the skies, oddly shaped trees, brisk air, turbulent wind, bushes, trees, ground, earth. Dirt. Dust.
Dusty humans. Dusty human problems and heartache and sorrow and mud and puddles. Dusty barren wombs, hearts, minds. Dusty vision. Dusty ears.
Hear the good news:
New eyes. New ears. New breath.
New eyes to see the beauty here.
New ears to hear the stories and lessons of each season.
New breath to fill your dusty lungs, to give you a voice, to give you strength to climb the mountains so you can see, really see, how small these storms are, how glorious the sunset and sunrise, how captivating the dirt and creeks and trees and clouds and leaves and grass all look from up high, circling, enveloping one another, drawing into the bigger view. But also breath to keep you on the forest floor, in the caves and holes and rivers and oceans, when you are prone to flying away from the realness of human life.
Lift up your eyes, from the dirt, from your offices, from your homes, from your schools, from your cars, from your mirrors and bathrooms and hospital rooms.
Lift up your eyes, throw back your shoulders, go outside and taste. See. Be.
It’s so free out here.