|Before the fall|
The other day, I decided to take a quick detour on the way home from work. Right across the street from us, there's this perfectly pristine conservation area
with a bunch of giant ponds in the middle of it, and it occurred to me that despite the fact that I can peer out my office window across four lanes of high-speed traffic and see the entrance, I've never taken the time to walk through its trails.
If we're being brutally frank, I wasn't feeling my best. With my backpack slung over my shoulder and my DSLR in my hand, I felt more than a little feverish as I trundled deeper into the woods and allowed my eyes to adjust to the kaleidoscope of colors that now surrounded me.
I didn't stay long - just enough to peer across the water, steal a few very lame photos and say hello to a few passing dogs before I turned around and started walking back toward the sounds of traffic in the distance - but I'm glad I carved out those few, fleeting minutes before I had to rejoin the rest of the world. Because as I made my way up the path, I came across this single leaf hanging defiantly from an otherwise bare branch.
I stopped and stared at it for a minute, not because it was spectacularly colored, but because it wasn't, because it seemed to be one of those plain leaves we'd otherwise miss as we moved ourselves from here to there. I wondered how long it had been before it had turned from green to yellow, and how much longer it might be before it fell quietly to the path below and dried up into a brown husk, never to be looked at again. I wondered if anyone else had ever looked at this particular leaf in this particular way, and decided no, I was probably the only one.
It's just a leaf, one among billions in this forest alone that otherwise live their entire lives in shadowy anonymity. And I probably shouldn't have been devoting this much mind-energy to a stupid leaf. Yet as I snapped the quick photo you see here on my smartphone and started back toward the parking lot, I realized why this silly little leaf seemed to stick with me. Because it wasn't about the leaf at all. Rather, it was - and is - about all those other things in life, like moments, people, whatever, that we pass by on our way from here to there, and never bother to think about.
What was I missing along the way? I guess we'll never really know, but I do know I'll be walking a little more slowly, on this path and others, from now on.
What small thing will you try to notice in your own life today? What's worth taking the time?