Daily Step – Stop and breathe it in.

I have spent this week back in the Midwest somewhere in the outskirts of Chicago.

It’s been awhile since I’ve spent time in this area during the Fall season. 

I forgot how incredibly beautiful it is.

Yesterday, a group of us went out to lunch, and on the drive back to the retreat center someone from the backseat said: “Oh wow. Can we all just pause and take in this beautiful sight? Right now. Right there!”

Luckily, I was at a red light and could glance over at what she found so breathtaking. It was an average sized tree awash in yellow leaves. 

Every single leaf had turned a bright yellow and the ground around the tree was dotted with the same brilliant color. As I turned my head to look, yellow leaves seemed to pause mid-flight as if to allow a painter or a photographer or just my attentive mind time to capture the moment.

I only had the briefest of seconds to glance at the tree before the light turned green and our journey continued. But it was a second that stuck with me.

What a blessing it has been to see the trees in bright yellows, oranges, and reds going about their business as usual. 

It reminded me that life keeps going. Cycles keep repeating. The leaves will fall to the ground and turn brown and crunchy. Up in this area, they will soon be covered in snow. Then new green leaves will form and take the place of those that have gone before… and the cycle will continue. 

We are but a part of this continuous cycle of life and death and growth and colorful beauty. In the grand scheme of things, we are mere seconds in time ourselves. 

In this poem, Mary Oliver is talking about a moment in the Fall when she paused to see the snow geese gliding through the air. The moment was there and then it was over and the geese flew away. She wrote:

“The geese
flew on.
I have never 
seen them again.

Maybe someday I will, someday, somewhere.
Maybe I won’t.
It doesn’t matter. 

What matters 
is that, when I saw them,
I saw them…”

What matters is that when we catch a glimpse of God at work, when we see it evident in the beautiful yellow leaves mid flight… we pause to really see it and take it in and know by the beauty of the moment that we are most definitely loved.

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