Do you ever get caught up in telling a story, or conveying an idea, and the ideas are coming fast and furious, so you just get the essentials? For example, you went to an exciting ballgame and you recite the play-by-play but leave out the way the crowd cheered, how you jumped to your feet and pumped your fists, or the unmistakeable emotion in the announcer’s voice when the home team scored the winning points?
Maybe you also left out the smell in the gym, or the aroma of the coffee you cradled in your hands in a vain attempt to stay warm at the football stadium. Were there posters displayed? Lights flashing? Music from the bands?
We don’t always equate sensory details with beauty, such as at a ballgame, but I believe we should. What a gift it is to be able to experience the events of our lives in “living color”. Maybe it’s the artist in me, as I’ve been told, but we tend to take so much of our surroundings for granted. Of course, an amazing sunset or outstanding flower garden will capture our attention, but these are the exception. (Although, I must say here, that the sunsets we’ve seen in Kansas this entire winter have been breath-taking, becoming the rule rather than the exception.)
But you get my point. We just usually have so much on our “to do” lists, that we dash from one to the next without taking time to notice what we pass on the way. This is one reason I am a fan of outdoor exercise. I walk, and these forays help me slow down and notice my surroundings.
My husband and I visited New York City several years ago. It was my first trip there as an adult and what I wanted to share with my friends at home the most was the hardest. The smells of various ethnic foods cooking, the sound of the crosswalk sign ticking the seconds until Stop, the lighted signs of Time Square. You just had to be there.
Or did you? As you read my descriptions above, could you get a hint of what it might have been like to be there?
I want to challenge you to think about all five of your senses and notice something in each category right now, wherever you are as you read this. Then do it again next time you go outside. Think about them as you drive to your next appointment, or chauffeur your kids to theirs.
Taking time to notice the beauty around you, whatever form it might take is one essential for living a full, beautiful life.
A baby will capture my attention anywhere! Photo: Kathryn Graves