Do you find happiness or wait for it to find you? I spent the most wonderful 30 minutes a few days ago; minutes of pure happiness and, surprisingly, I was encouraged to share it.
First, I should say that I believe "happiness" is a state of mind; that I can choose to be happy - even when I find myself in less than a stereotypical happy situation. I don't always manage it, but I do more often than not and I'm better at it than I used to be. I believe much happier days are available to each of us if we cultivate that attitude, make that choice rather than wait for those, all too infrequent, moments when pure happiness happens to find us. But that is a post for another time and not what my afternoon the other day was about. That afternoon was one of those times when happiness finds you, but you may not notice if you don't take the time, if you rush by it. Those moments were delightful; definitely a way to feel happier, lighter, without much effort and I hope you’ll try it. Often.
At the end of my daily afternoon walk with Genevieve, I decided to cut through a nearby field to avoid the new construction along our usual route. The unwanted construction and noise proved a blessing because we hadn’t been this way for a while. Even though the summer weather this year had been gorgeous, we hadn’t taken time out in the field since May and I’m unsure why, but thankfully we found ourselves there that afternoon.
I let her off leash to investigate and I took off my shoes, lay down in the grass and stared at the sky, a stunning shade of azure. It looked as if it were sparkling. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the sounds of the catbirds in a nearby tree, a woodpecker hammering in the distance, the ebbs and almost deafening crescendos of the cicadas’ song and the screams of two hawks soaring high above. Together their music helped the noisy rhythm of the nearby highway fade away.
After a time I rolled onto my stomach - primarily to keep an eye on Gg’s exploits. She was very much enjoying her “free” time. I then noticed at least 2 dozen or so huge dragonflies maneuvering overhead. Literally over our heads, to-ing and fro-ing with a hovering pause now and then, before continuing their busyness. Butterflies too. Some so incredibly tiny, I'm not sure they're ever really noticed unless you're eye-level with the grass. And when a large grasshopper skimmed past my face, I was extremely grateful in that moment that it had chosen to not land on it.
I lay there warming in the sun and feeling no need to rush off or be anywhere else. Actually, nothing else even crossed my mind for those few moments. I was completely absorbed in the present moment of what was going on near me - sights, sounds, feelings. A perfect mindfulness meditation.
After about 25 minutes or so, I may have lost track of time a little, it felt like time to go. Not because I thought I had stayed too long or had to be somewhere else, it was just the natural conclusion to our time there. So, we made our way home after our delightful time in the field and along the way I noticed a great blue heron padding through the pond. It felt like such a special day, but I find they’re often like this if only I take a few moments to be observant and enjoy.
Much later that evening, when the sun had set and the pinks and oranges had already faded from the sky, we took our evening walk. The sky was then shades of yellowish and blue that blended into a steely gray as we walked past that same field. Now bats were fluttering their oddly patterned flights against the darkening sky, while a mother deer snuck out of the woods and crossed just a few yards in front of us with her two fawns following quietly behind. All three looking as if they were tip-toeing across the road. As we turned home, the chilly evening breeze was picking up slightly and stars starting to shine in the darkest part of the sky above the inky tree line. It was a lovely end to a wonderful day.
Those moments that afternoon and evening were so beautiful and alive they made me feel vitally connected and very happy. Thankfully I'm used to noticing such moments regularly, daily really. The surprising part was that as I was lying in the grass letting my inner child revel in the moment without any responsibilities or rushing to finish my very lengthy to do list, I suddenly felt an urge to write down the experience. The feeling persisted into the next day. It seemed strange because I really don’t enjoy journaling and never felt compelled to write about past afternoons walking through the field. Perhaps it was to remember the fullness of it? I wasn’t sure. Later I realized it was because I wasn’t supposed to keep this one to myself - an unsettling realization for a private person.
And so here it is. Longer than I expected, but filled with the special details.
If you’ve reached the end of this tale, I hope it inspires you to find a little time to enjoy the beauty of your outdoor space; to be in the moment, let your inner child out and take delight in the sights and sounds Mother Nature has in store for you when you take the time to really notice. Your body, mind and soul will thank you. I promise.
So, get out there and reset your nervous system to calm & grounded. There are wonders waiting for you outdoors - no matter what the season.
But hopefully you'll have at least one more warm day for your own adventure soon.
Love, your reluctant blogger.