16 March 2011

In the Least-Expected Places

I went running with some of our cross-country team one day a few years ago.  We went to a place called "Tree Hill," a small hill east of our school that boasts some twenty trees leading up to its modest summit; thus, the name.  It was a hot day with a very strong sun, so we took it a bit easy so as not to cause any damage to ourselves.

I wasn't expecting much of a view from the top of the hill, which poked up only 75 yards or so above the prairie.  But the beauty of the view I saw there wasn't in its vastness, but in its flow.  It wasn't in its scope, but in its uniqueness.

The prairie grass was quite green that year, and in different spots it pointed in different directions, depending on how the wind normally hit it.  The hills that led to the mountains further to the easy were rolling gracefully, covered by this beautiful carpet of green.  There were few houses to be seen, just rolling prairie all the way to the foothills some fifteen miles distant.  As I looked upon the scene, I was reminded of a turbulent ocean that's heaving and churning with its currents, that's constantly in motion and never sitting still.  Although I knew that the land I was looking at was pretty steady in our terms, I was reminded of something completely different, something truly unique.

I didn't expect to see such a marvelous view, but perhaps that lack of expectation was what made it so special.  I felt grateful that my eyes were at least open to the possibility of seeing something magical in a view that so many others would find to be ordinary.  Seeing things as ordinary does nothing to enrich our lives; seeing things as extraordinary does much to do so.  And seeing the extraordinary takes a decision to see it, for we don't seem to just naturally see the extraordinary things in life--we definitely have to make up our minds to be open to all the magic and wonder that the world has to offer.
One does not need to fast for days and meditate for hours at a time
to experience the sense of sublime mystery which constantly envelops us.
All one need do is to notice intelligently, if even for a brief moment,
a blossoming tree, a forest flooded with autumn colors, an infant smiling.
Simon Greenberg

Visit our pages of quotations on awareness.

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