Stop and Notice

The weather in the Pacific Northwest has been clear, sunny and cool for the last few days and, according to the long-range forecast, shows no signs of changing, at least within the next 7 days.  And that’s fine with me!

What I love about this type of weather in the late fall and early winter are the beautiful scenes it makes possible, like:

  • The brilliant orange, yellow, and blue colors of a sunrise
  • The clear view of mountains in the Cascade Range
  • The late afternoon sunlight shining off the bodies of low-flying Canadian geese

What’s interesting to me is that as beautiful as these scenes are, they can easily be missed, unless we stop and notice them.  There are so many things that occupy our minds and compete for our attention that, unless we make an effort to be aware of the beautiful things going on around us, we can easily miss them; and that would be a shame.

Let’s commit to actively looking for the beautiful things occurring around us.  Whether it’s a beautiful natural scene or an act of kindness, let’s be sure not to miss them.

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Don’t Miss It

As I was driving to the gym at 5:10 AM on a dark Tuesday morning this week I was fortunate to see an absolutely beautiful natural scene.

The full moon was high in the clear, dark western sky, illuminating a band of clouds that had stacked up along the eastern slope of the Oregon Coast Range.  The moon’s reflected light cast down on the clouds causing them to pop against the black sky with brilliant shades of silver, white, and gray.  The tableau was so striking, so breath-taking and unexpected that I just stopped in the middle of the road to watch it for a moment. (One of the benefits of a small town in the wee hours of the morning.)

As beautiful as this scene was, it would have been easy to miss, had I been too mentally distracted to notice.  I’m amazed at how busy our minds can get, with all the life events that clamor for bits of our mental capacity.  Whether it’s thinking about the people, places, or things in our life, or keeping up with all the technological notifications and alerts we’re bombarded with, our minds can easily become so full that we find ourselves distracted from, if not blind to, the things going on right in front of us.

I hate to think of being too distracted to notice such a beautiful moonlit scene.  But even worse, I wonder what other beautiful things I have failed to notice in my past, simply because I was too distracted to see them.

As we’re going about living active lives, let’s make sure we’re saving some mental capacity to take notice of the beautiful things happening right in front of us.  We never know when a naturally beautiful scene will make a surprise appearance.

Let’s be ready for it!