Thursday, March 6, 2014

3/7/14—Taking Five Minutes

While the sun sets in my front yard, I sometimes like to watch from the back yard. You can see why in the picture. As the sun dips low, it reflects on the trees in shades of red and yellow. You can see this effect move through the surrounding neighborhood like a custodian switching off lights at the end of the day...first on the branches in the foreground, then the ones taller or further away.

The night I took this picture, I was sitting outside and the entire tree was lit up bright red. It was breathtaking. So I ran inside to get my camera. By the time I got back outside, possibly a minute later, half the red was gone from the trees. Shortly after the picture was taken, the moment had passed. With the speed at which the tree buds and the sun sets, it may never look quite this way again.

The great thing about nature, though, is that the next night there will be a different beauty, albeit again quite fleeting. But if you blink, you'll miss that one, too. One of the many lessons the sunset teaches us is the impermanence of things.

We probably have a million moments like that in every day. We can't stop and appreciate them all. But most people start their days like a cannonball out of a cannon and don't stop until they collapse. Instead of admiring the 10th flower your daughter drew for you today, you say "that's enough. I'm busy with something." Instead of stopping to watch a family of ducklings swim at the park, you walk by, hurried. Instead of watching the light move across the trees, you run inside for your camera and miss the show...haha.

My dogs help me appreciate stuff more than I might normally. If you do something a dog enjoys once, they will never let you forget. Sometimes I go outside with coffee in the morning and just sit with them as they watch the yard. So now, every day, rain or shine, they come in from their morning constitutional, eat their breakfast and then stare at me expectantly. I could break their hearts. Or I could take 15 minutes and go outside and sit with them....while they ignore me, btw. They need me out there so I can beg for kisses, only to be repeatedly rejected, because that shows the squirrels that NOBODY is the boss of them!

What it all comes down to is that we're all guilty of missing the light as it leaves the trees. But one of the lessons I'm trying to learn this year is that there's really very little that can't wait 5 minutes. Work, groceries, can all wait 5 minutes. Those aren't the things that feed the heart and fuel the soul. The special moments that go unappreciated are...being present for your children, the beauty of a flower, the unbridled fun of taking a spin on the merry go round. These things all fill you up and you end up being more productive because you feel less like an ox tethered to a plow all day. So what will you take five minutes for today?


  1. Thanks Tierney, I needed to be reminded to slow down and not run away from myself