What Truly Matters
I walk briskly homeward, staring down at the monotony of sidewalk interrupted periodically by some leaf or bewildered insect. I see nothing but the sidewalk before me. I hear nothing but the redundant thudding of my footsteps. I feel nothing but the weight of my backpack—amplified by the psychological burden of its contents: textbooks and notebooks, the tangible representations of postponed responsibility. My miserable stupor shields me from the rest of the world as I trudge noisily down the street. Then, by some obscure coincidence, I look up.
My senses are revived.
Trees, their leaves already tinted with the coming of autumn, exude an aura of content indifference. Bright sunlight, working in conjunction with a fresh, excitable breeze, teases the leaves into projecting dancing shadows upon the sidewalk at my feet—shadows that previously went unexamined. A squirrel scampering noisily up a tree is rebuked the melodic protests of birds, excited by the intrusion. A few bright flowers stubbornly resist the changing of season and confidently share their attractive petals and sweet smells with the rest of us.
And all at once, I understand what truly matters.
In the midst of self-imposed or societal responsibility, I have often forgotten about the importance of appreciating the simple things—the beauty of the trees and mountains I look at every day, but only occasionally see. I have been blinded by futile struggles and all too tangible pressures have come to govern my life. And only in the workings of nature have I been able to find an unobtrusive reassurance, an indication that in the grand scheme, everything will work itself out, a reminder that my failures are irrelevant to the cosmic order—whatever that may be.
I now believe that true contentment can only be found through nature. For nature goes on. Unimpeded, nature prevails—inevitably replenishing and resuscitating itself even after what we perceive to be the most devastating destruction. I believe we must respect nature, learn from it, and find comfort in its perseverant consistency. In search of solitude and comfort, I believe we can find peace outside the stressful human order of things, transcend whatever problems may clutter our minds, and seek true tranquility—if only for a few moments in a day—in the often overlooked natural beauty of our surroundings.
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