Thursday, February 20, 2014

Beautiful Run

Have you ever looked at a flower and just found yourself lost in awe?  They're not just simple things. They're not composed of a few lines and colors like the way we draw them with our little elementary school hands.  If you really look at them, you will find they are each a divine work of art.  These natural beauties are filled with complex details, extraordinary designs, and  brilliant colors.

The phrase “stop and smell the roses” takes on a deeper meaning for me today.  I have been so busy going back and forth in my daily life, fulfilling goals and responsibilities, that at times it has overwhelmed me.  I became the center of my universes, and like a workhorse, put on my blinders as I pulled my cart down rustic back roads, greenbelt trails, and tar-streaked highways. 

What are the roses in my life?  What are the beautiful things, the complex things, the intricately designed things available to me, placed in my path to make my world a more beautiful place? After reading an article by one of my closest friends, Three Good Things by Jeff Suwak, I got a glimpse of that beauty. 

There were so many parts in this one article that pushed and pulled me in so many different directions, I've had to read it several times and have only begun to see it's complex, deep, moving message. After I wiped the tears from my cheeks, and got a good night's sleep, the fog of stress, fear, and depression are beginning to lift, allowing a ray of golden sunshine to fall on me. It is a thin beam, but enough to start melting the ice wall I'd built around my winter's heart.  Of course, it's not pretty when walls fall.  My first instinct is to panic when the ground starts to shake and the thunderous crashes boom through my silence. I get scared, I get defensive, I cover my ears and curl into a ball.  But, I am grateful.

At any moment I have access to a lifetime’s worth of beauty and contemplation and wonder. The deluge of crap that modern media makes available can make us forget all of the beauty, all of the high achievement of the human spirit and intellect, that is available to us at the press of a button. That is something infinitely worth being grateful for.” ~ Jeff Suwak

As I ran the trails, many words from that article kept rolling through my mind, especially about seeing the beauty in such an ungrateful world, and that's when I saw my first flower.  I nearly tripped over my own clumsy feet trying to divert my direction.  Sometimes I act before I think, and in this instance, after having been running for 2 miles, I was in a rhythm.  So while my reactive mind said “oh, a flower” my feet were screaming “keep moving”.  I managed to stay upright, but pulled a muscle, which made the last mile of the run excruciating.  But, I didn't let the pain stop me from enjoying those wonderful works of art.

 The first flower was actually a weed, but one of the most beautiful and complex weed I've ever seen.  It's something that brought me so much joy as a kid. As I knelt down before it, to get that perfect shot,   it seemed to whisper to me, “Your winter is just about over”.  I nearly started crying.  I took my shot and then hobbled down the path.

I only got a few hundred feet when I saw the next flower.  This one was brilliantly colorful, a bright spot among a brown world.  It seemed to softly speak to me, “A new season is coming.”  I felt tension release in my shoulders.

It started to rain and I still had a good quarter mile to go. But, I didn't let the cold drizzle steal the beauty from me. I limped some more and came upon another flower, almost hidden among a pile of  damp leaves. This one was very small and purple.  It seemed to laugh at me as it spoke to my heart, “You've only just begun to grow, there's so much more to come.”  My heart felt lighter, my future seemed a bit brighter.  Though it was raining, I laughed in the rain.

In a winter wood, filled with leafless limbs and dead leaves, I literally stumbled upon another flower as I came around a sharp corner.  I didn't see it until I had reached the center of the turn.  This one was very delicate, but intricately detailed.  It seemed to shout at me, “You can't see all the details from afar and behind obstacles.  But if you keep your eyes open and get close, you'll become amazed.  Pay attention to the details.” 

My leg hurt as I climbed the last big hill, bringing me back to the start of the 3 mile trail.  I felt relief as I spotted my car parked in the parking lot.  As I passed the restrooms and exited the greenbelt, I noticed a  little flower garden by the curb, filled with various colorful plants.  I hadn't noticed it when I started this run, knowing I passed right by them.  I shook my head and thought about how amazing it was that I couldn't see what was right in front of me - what had been in the open, I had missed.   

What beauty have you missed seeing?

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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