Here’s a little something for you, because you deserve it! Honestly, it’s been tough going for a while now. Sometimes we must turn off the noise and let Mother Nature soothe our souls. I pushed the thought of Anthony Kennedy’s resignation from my mind yesterday and enjoyed the sights and smells of lavender at Carmel Valley Ranch.
“People don’t remember each tree in a park but all of us benefit from the trees. And in a way, artists are like trees in a park.”
There once was a tree. I remember it well…a large oak, in the center of a parking lot, that regularly shaded my car. Unfortunately, the beautiful oak reached the end of its life a few months ago. I remember the day; the entire property looked different without its grand presence.
The tree is once again part of the landscape in the form of a bench. I’ll remember a particular tree every time I pass by or stop to rest on a particular bench.
I’ve been thinking a lot about time and place lately. It seems to me that place matters little if the time is not right. It was a philosophical cabana boy who got me thinking about this. I had left the Carmel fog for the sunshine of Carmel Valley to enjoy a glass of bubbly poolside. I was admiring the stunning view of blue skies, old oaks and green hills when he handed me my chilled glass.
“This really is paradise up here, isn’t it,” I commented. I hadn’t phrased it as a question and yet he took it that way. “Well,” he said flatly, “I guess paradise is where you find it.” Clearly, he had not found it where I had.
It could be argued that he was working and I was lounging and as such we had different viewpoints, but I think it’s more than that. In my younger days, I often failed to appreciate the beauty around me…the beauty that offers solace, inspiration and perspective. Understandably, I was rushing, worrying, working and tending; now there is less of all of that and more time to notice what’s around me.
I do remember the orange leaves in the fall of 2000, though. It was my brother’s last fall and he knew it. We’d met to have coffee and pastry. We sat outside at a small bistro table admiring the view. “Of course, I never appreciated it quite so much,” he said. Fall had always been my favorite time of year, too. I loved the tree colors and the crisp air and, in my younger days, the joy of beginning a new year in school. Yet, that day was different; we sat and breathed it in. We were happy.
As I grow older, I do stop more often to appreciate trees, stars, flowers and vistas and I am always struck by how marvelous it all is. I feel content to sit by the windows in the morning and watch the breeze in the grasses and the squirrels in frolic. In the afternoon, I marvel at the fog as it drifts in slowly to ultimately form a thick wall. I walk outside at night sometimes just to look up at the sky.
I enjoyed a visit with my neighbor this morning and as we cleaned up the coffee cups she pointed out the kitchen window to her garden. “People talk about yoga,” she said. “This is my yoga.”
And, I understood what she meant. If you take the time to notice it, the world is a beautiful place.