I live in a place that is routinely, and justifiably, referred to in shades of beauty: gorgeous, magnificent, stunning. Often, people are talking about the coast when they use such words of awe, and I certainly understand why: it really is breathtaking.
But there’s another side to this incredible corner of the world, and that’s the land itself. The hills and valleys throughout this county are absolutely worth writing home – er, blogging publicly – about. I’ve been taken by the redwoods since I first visited this area, 14 years ago. They are steeped in wisdom, and the woods here grant a certain kind of silent wisdom, of reverence.
The other day, I went for a hike with friends. It’s not something I do often enough, even though I love to wander through the trees. When I was younger, and lived more firmly in the woods, it was a daily practice, and a cherished one. This weekend, luckily, was a reminder of that: a couple of miles in any direction, just about, lead to an entirely different world.
Once there, I felt the unique settling of my spirit that only happens when my feet are moving, when I am tucked quietly into nature that has witnessed so much more than I have. I imagine that those trees, that earth, hold stories; perhaps they reminisce together when we’re not around. Or perhaps they reminisce when we are standing right beneath them, ignorant of their language.
Really, it is only when I am tuned in to the natural world around me that I fully embrace a sense of mindfulness. There is so much to notice, at every turn. On this particular stroll, I was particularly aware of that, and took to seeking out those things I might normally overlook.
Always one for the novelty of finding that which is hidden, the world thus becomes a game. Though I imagine Nature itself would scoff at such an idea, I like to imagine that such nuances are placed, in part, for my eyes; a challenge of awareness.
The challenge, of course, goes deeper, and seems endless. What knowledge do I not yet have, that will help me see the world in more detail? A friend helped me out with one of them, turning over the green clover scattered wildly, and abundantly, across the forest floor. The underside revealed pinks and purples.
When I am reminded of such hidden mysteries of the earth, my world becomes a delight. Looking closely enough reminds me: there is so much more to life than what I, casually, see.
And whether in nature – beneath the redwoods, alongside the ocean, or in one of countless other places that stretch the boundaries of the most excited of adjectives – or simply strolling along the exquisite composition of people, places, and habits that make up the everyday, I know this awareness, this constant investigation, makes everything so much more. I urge myself into curiosity, into learning, into wonder, into life.