Once upon a time, an English Literature professor in a NY college asked his class what kind of trees lined the walkway to the English building. Not a single student was able to identify the type of tree; most were unaware that there even were trees along the path. This lack of connection with the natural world and the consequences of self absorption in our own tiny mental habitation became the topic of discussion, both in real life and in literature. Lewis Carroll and Dostoyevsky were on the reading list that semester.
Following the coldest winter and then the hottest summer in forty years, we were blessed here on the Treasure Coast of Florida with a totally glorious Indian Summer. Last week I walked on my favorite beach and found myself hypnotized by the sun and the waves in the balmy 80 degree weather. A smile opened my face and gratitude expanded my heart. Moments of bliss like that sometimes sneak up on me. They seem a miracle of the moment, a vivid shift of perception (almost like falling down a rabbit hole) that gives me the ability to really see what is around me. These moments are so lovely that I am teaching myself to look for them in order to have more.
Today I kept warm with cashmere and wool, and admired the extraordinary quality of the gold autumn sunshine as it bathed my room with amber light in the morning hours. I find that staying close with nature keeps my heart open, even when nature expresses herself with bitter winds or heavy rains. I remind myself that it is the frigid cold of the high desert that makes the most exquisitely soft down to grow on Kashmir goats, and it is the seasonal heat that causes them to shed this amazing undercoat that ends up knit into my beloved socks.
As we move through November towards Thanksgiving, take time to notice the natural beauty around you. Make time for a walk in woods, the beach, or in the park, or even gaze out the rainy window and look for the colors of the rainbow. Notice the trees on your path. It is easy to get lost in busy-ness or in the noise of your own mind; how much more fun to get caught up in appreciation of what is around you. Perhaps this is what Einstein meant when he said "A person starts to live when he can live outside himself."
Have a wonderful and grateful Thanksgiving season.