Last summer I was on my way to Springfield, IL. Usually the trip takes abaout an hour and a half, but lots of road works caused very slow, one-lane driving for many miles, and it took twice as long. But that was okay. It forced me to almost “stop and smell the roses”. It’s not quite “stop and smell the roses’, but it IS “slow down and be able to appreciate the scenery”. Usually, we whiz along the highway, hardly noticing anything. If we do look, here in the Midwest, it’s to see miles and miles of flat land covered in corn and beans in the growing season, interspersed with farmsteads, and to comment again on how flat/boring/monotonous it is.
But, if you have the time (and the will) to truly look, you’ll see details, and be able to pick out what’s beautiful here. It’s a subdued, understated beauty, but on that day my eyes were opened. Our maximum speed for quite a while was about 30 mph and I became aware of the clear blue sky, and how big the sky is here, how clean and clear it is, how far away the horizon is. We don’t see the sky like this in many other places, unobstructed by buildings, mountains, hills even. Red-tailed hawks swooped, or sat uncaring on fence posts, and I never realized red-wing blackbirds were so common here! Grasses waved next to the highway, the verges liberally sprinkled with wild flowers—patches, of white, purple, blue or orange.
So, I was filled with wonder at this new view of the countryside, at the realization that if I stop and open my eyes and senses, something unexpected will be revealed to me.
I think we can try this in life too: “Drive” slowly through whatever you’re doing and look around. I think we may all be surprised at what we see and experience.