Saturday, September 29, 2012

my tiny new friend

When I arrived at home after work yesterday evening, I saw an open amazon box on the front porch. I walked up the steps to peer into the box and found it full of grass and other plant matter. Thinking that my mom had been weeding, I thought nothing more of the cardboard and went inside. After talking to my parents for about five minutes, my mom suddenly said, "Oh! We have a present for you...but you can't keep it." Quite confused, I followed her out front. My mom pointed at the box, so I looked inside more closely. There, huddled in the corner, was the tiniest turtle I have ever seen.

My parents told me that the men working on our house found the little guy in our backyard, having just worked his way out of his egg. I don't usually go googly-eyed over reptiles, but I'm a sucker for just about every baby animal. He's just so small and incredibly adorable!

Barely bigger than a quarter, how could I leave him to fend for himself in the wilds of our backyard? I fully intend to release him soon, but I want to see him grow a little bit bigger before relinquishing him to Mother Nature.

I'm so happy that I was able to see a day-old turtle in person. You see sweet photos of baby animals online, and sometimes you see them at the zoo, but it's far less common to stumble across a young creature in the wild.

Monday, September 24, 2012

little things

I've been thinking about the saying, "it's the little things in life," lately. I like the idea that small, simple, inexpensive experiences or items that can brighten your day. These little things are different for each individual, depending on their likes and dislikes and what obstacles their lives have thrown at them. 

Oftentimes, it's difficult to take joy and pleasure in the little things. We get caught up in our memories, our fears, our concerns about the future, and we forget to take pause and savor those tiny moments. The only moment we have to live is the present moment, but our fast-paced society, obsessed with money and material possessions, and our overstimulated brains challenge us on every step of our journey through life.

On the other hand, some people tend to lose sight of the purpose of savoring those small moments. It becomes yet another source of their anger or frustration when a little thing doesn't go their way. I believe the reason these moments are so important is that their presence can bring great happiness, but their absence should not bring outrage or displeasure. By becoming enraged in the face of a little thing gone amiss, it's becomes too big to be a moment, no longer a little thing worth savoring.

An example from my job comes to mind. I used to work in the café and I interacted with so many different types of people. Some became furious at the first sign that something may not go the way they wanted, while others remained calm or even cheerful, even if several items they desired were out of stock, or service was much too slow. I recall one customer in particular, an older woman, who ordered a non-fat, sugar-free vanilla latté. Despite the skinny drink, she told me that she wanted whipped cream on top because, "it's the little things, right?" That dollop of whipped cream was one of her special little moments, a tiny thing that brought a bit of bliss.

Then I recall other customers who, after taking their drinks, stalk back to the counter, bristling with rage, because I dared to forget the whipped cream on their beverage. A little thing, so easily fixed in five seconds, becomes just another source of annoyance and exasperation to these people. With so much ill will and rage in their mind, more of those wonderful, little moments will slip through their fingers, until they can no longer be satisfied by anything.

It's often difficult for me to notice and savor the little things. I'm so caught up in the never ending rush of the world, being buffeted by the demands and desires of the many different people that I interact with. But I'm slowly teaching myself to step back and truly experience life. I close my eyes as I sip my coffee, shutting down a sense so that I can truly relish the taste. I no longer listen to my iPod when I go for walks in the woods so that I can hear the birdsong, the wind whispering through the trees, and the crunch of leaves underfoot. And most importantly, when a little thing doesn't pan out the way I'd prefer, I take a deep breath and move on. That moment has already passed and I have a million more moments to live.

Monday, September 3, 2012

respite from my mind

It seems a bit odd that I should love nature so much, considering how obsessive I am about germs and cleanliness, and how frightened I am of deer ticks. But spending time in a forest infuses me with awe, with euphoria, and with the delightful sense that there is something so much bigger than myself. I willingly trek through tall grasses and plants where insects are lurking, and I'm happy to touch the rough bark of a trunk or the spongy moss patches on the side of the trail. The woods are where I feel most relaxed, where I feel most connected with the world. Each whisper of wind through the leaves is a song that uplifts my heart and every sunbeam filtering through the trees is a tonic against the stress of my anxious life.