The view was peaceful. The trees were standing at glorious attention. Slightly rustling in the faint breeze, they cast large shadows, bringing relief from the blazing sun. The timber appeared untouched, and I felt as if I was the first person to view them. They were my discovery. They were my escape.
The image I captured speaks of natural beauty, of a grand lunchtime view I had the pleasure of enjoying. But it wasn’t the complete picture. The natural settings became my escape out of necessity. Had I taken the photo aiming at my eye-level view, the picture would tell another story. A story of chaos and commotion.
See, I was surrounded by more than 70 children and their ample supply of field trip chaperones.
It was time for their lunch, which apparently no longer consists of foods worth consuming. The sound of candy wrappers crunching through the forest was accented by the loud noise of soda can tabs being pulled. Sugar in every form was being shared, the excitement noticeably growing with every moment as their conversations grew louder and louder. Have you witnessed what happens to a large group of third graders after consuming a months worth of sugar? (Have you ever witnessed what happens to the adults trying to contain these children?!) There is no denying sugar affects kids…
As the volume of the kids voices continued to increase, I couldn’t help but seek out peace in the pandemonium. I looked to the trees. Unwavering, unflinching, they stood strong despite the storm of little feet fueled by large quantities of carbohydrates. As I looked skyward, I tried to imagine what it would be like to visit these woods when there wasn’t busloads of people meandering through them. What a serene view I could enjoy, were it not for the distractions caused by the bustle of activity.
Yet in that moment I found happiness. Despite the commotion, the beauty remained. The vivid greens of the forest were mesmerizing. While I could’ve focused on the disruptions, for a few moments I was distracted only by the scenery. Lost in the greater view, it was a moment when I truly appreciated Oregon for what it is; alive, lush, green…
So often I let myself bypass the details. And sometimes I even lose sight of the whole picture. I get caught up in focusing on the mundane problems, or only notice what is making the most noise. I let life’s chaos take away my attention from the elegance that surrounds me.
I hope to grow in my ability to see the good in my surroundings, even in the most difficult times. I hope to see the small details, the grand details. To enjoy life to its fullest, whether surrounded by concrete or out venturing through the woods, is a goal I wish to attain. And I hope next time I find myself escaping city life for a jaunt in the forest that I remember to bring ear plugs.
Planning any adventures for the summer? Will your plans include bringing ear plugs?