Now and then I am astounded anew by the incredible beauty and unimaginable complexity of the world around me. I feel awe and appreciation and gratitude for being allowed to be a part of it. I experience a closeness that gives me peace and a sense of purpose like nearly no other thing can. It is wonderful and awesome and so intense that I am actually thankful this feeling comes upon me only occasionally.
The thing that sparks this feeling can be small. It might seem like nothing at all. I will notice something, think nothing of it for a moment, and suddenly find I am overwhelmed with sensation.
Did the day just become suddenly colder? Did the sun just brighten? Had that fragrance been there all along?
Maddie, our dog, and I were walking the other morning. She stopped to poke her sensitive little nose into a pile of leaves. A light breeze was blowing and the leaves were falling from the trees around us. I glanced down at my feet and saw a dead cicada lying just in front of the toe of my shoe. And then it happened.
The feeling is fleeting, but immense. It rushes over me like a relentless wave. Indomitable. There and gone.
I sometimes wish that it would last longer. I think that if it did, I might be able to figure out all of life. But I can never hang onto it. And perhaps that is just as well.
In only a couple of seconds I see the life cycle of the cicada laid out before me. The leaves from the trees tell me about their lives as well. I hear in the song of the birds the message that winter is coming. For a few seconds, I consider it all. The worms in the earth, the tiny things living upon my skin, the beating of my heart, the life of my little dog. I feel connected in a way that cannot be described with words.
Occasionally, I will stand and stare into the far distance, the sun warm upon my head. I will listen to the wind in the trees and wish that I might slide into that other state of existence where everything is so incredibly clear. But the feeling never comes at my bidding. And perhaps that is also a good thing.
I stand in gratitude for all that has been given me. But I especially stand in gratitude for beauty.