The season is slowly winding down for us. Even as we work on tasks to finish out this year, we are already working on getting the 2020 season launched. This week, we finally were able to get our wheat planted for next year, and we also finished planting our garlic. Together, with the new strawberries that we planted in July, we have already started the process of growing food for next year. While there is still much work to be done this fall, I have learned to occasionally take some time to reflect in the autumn. On days like today, when the sun is shining, I sometimes steal away for a while to just enjoy being instead of always doing.
I have always noticed is that the skies are a lighter blue in the autumn than in the summer. It is as beautiful as it is striking. Perhaps this is because the sun is striking the sky at a steeper angle, or maybe it is an illusion brought on by the contrast of the autumn pastels in the trees displaying against a cloudless sky with flocks of migrating geese and sandhill cranes flying through the scene. In either case, the effect is mesmerizing to me, especially when it serves as a backdrop to a beautiful day. There is also the possibility that the sky is so beautiful simply because I am taking the time to notice it.
I was walking in the woods on a similar day earlier in the week, and it occurred to me that beauty reveals itself when I am consciously outside of myself in the large world, instead of being trapped within the small world of my mind. In my mind, my small world, there exists schedules, deadlines, uncertainty, and regrets. It is a quagmire of turmoil that can follow me everywhere, leaving little time to see the beauty that exists right in front of me. It is the mindset that looks to the past for answers and looks to the future for salvation from whatever I perceive as injury upon my heart or soul. If I remain in that small world of awareness, I am blinded to the beauty of all that surrounds me every day.
To see the world as it truly is requires thinking large. Most of the thoughts that consume my awareness and even drive my anxiety just beneath my awareness are irrelevant. No future is ever guaranteed to anyone and no past can be revisited. The reality of all that matters is right now. If I only look outward to it from within my inner prison, the now that exists in the larger world of my consciousness, is filled with beauty beyond simple comprehension.
If I look up, I can feel the warmth of the sun on my face. That warmth left mediocre star eight minutes prior after spending thousands of years escaping from the core of the sun to the sun’s surface. That is beauty on my face. I realize that I am not just an individual, but rather an organism, one of so many, on a planet that circles the same star that warms my face. I take a breath and feel it fill my lungs with life, a gift from countless organisms such as trees, plankton, and bacteria. I exhale, returning a gift to them, beauty in every breath.
I feel the soil beneath my feet, full of life, that feeds the plants that feed me, beauty in every step as the very energy that drives me comes from the soil. I think of the people and animals in my life, also recipients of these gifts of life, and I see the connections between us. It is the relationships with all who share the planet with me that matter the most. I see the beauty in each soul with whom I interact, and it makes me smile. Maybe I can try to even find the beauty in my own smile. I should, because it reflects all that surrounds me in the world.
It can be said that there is beauty everywhere if one understands the true nature of it. I have come to believe that beauty and its appreciative cousin, awe, can be found and experienced in our everyday lives. In the what some may view as the pedestrian activities of our daily lives, there exists a glorious beauty to behold, if we allow our consciousness to escape the smallness of our egos to roam freely amongst the largeness of the universe in which we find ourselves.