I believe that one of the secrets to finding contentment in life is to appreciate the little moments that dart by like dragonflies, without trying to pin them down. Nature is full of such ‘moments’, beautiful and brief, like the first green on budding trees, the heavenly scent of magnolias in the shade, and taste warm ripe tomatoes right off the vine in my backyard. Enjoying life consists of many small everyday celebrations, and in nature I see a myriad of transient elusive simple moments that teach me about contentment amidst change.
For a summer I worked in a toll-booth outside the entrance to the botanical gardens. I could barely take two steps in each direction, but I could open up the screens and let a lovely cross breeze into my outdoor cubical. While I sat in the toll- booth for my six-hour shift, I began to notice the different qualities of light filtering down and changing with the hours through the pine trees lining the road. I decided my favorite was the early evening five o’clock evening light, made even more beautiful because its warm gold inevitably faded into the deeper colors of a sunset. The more aware I become of the passage of time, the more precious it becomes to me.
Everything I’ve ever loved has lasted for a season, and I’ve learned that it’s impossible to ever go back to the way things used to be. As much as I long for some of the places in my childhood, I know that if I were to go back it wouldn’t feel right. Sometimes this realization is painful, and can be disillusioning when the childhood luster and gleam I remember everything by, seems to have completely faded. As with seasons though, I see and love with different eyes and different loves. I try to appreciate each season’s moments and beauties, however brief, and I believe that part of being content is to treasure these moments with the knowledge that they will pass.
By watching nature, I find that hope always exists as life continuously regenerates giving way to new life. Some of the most beautiful sights last only a moment. These little moments in nature remind me of the fragility and transitory nature of all things and that I must appreciate them as they come and not long for them after they have passed receiving everything in life as a momentary gift and being content in the moment.
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