On this day, I feel grateful

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The lyrics of a song on one of my favorite CDs comes to mind as I sit watching shadows dance across the edge of the water.

“For the beauty of the earth… Lord above to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.”

That is what I feel this glorious morning on the last day of May 2011, grateful. The Memorial Day boaters visiting the lake for the weekend are gone. Now the only sounds come from the natural world, chirping birds, singing frogs and a squirrel nearby who squawks its disapproval of my presence so near its nest in the oak tree.

Dragonflies buzz around stopping to rest on tall blades of grass swaying in a soft breeze that moves through the trees. Water lily blossoms just beginning to open, turn their yellow faces toward the sun and join the grass in a slow dance with the wind.

I sit concentrating on capturing all the sounds of this morning. As I listen, I hear more and more. A splash announces that the fishes are awake and perhaps enjoying their breakfast. The song of a cricket becomes a voice in the bird-frog choir and the hum of a fly near my ear grabs my attention.

Sitting wrapped in the beauty and harmony of my surroundings, I think how blessed I am in this perfect moment, how lucky I am to be who I am living where I live.

There is a deep peace that comes with stopping long enough to really see and hear life. Not the life of the busy place that we occupy most of the time, but the world that moves and breathes all around us while we are too busy to notice.

For some reason, it seems to me we have lost sight of the value of slowing the pace now and then. Instead, we measure success by how much we rush through our days, wearing our stressed and hurried schedules and our “to-do” lists like badges of honor that proclaim the importance of our existence.

Yogis say we come here not with so many beats of our hearts but with a certain number of breaths. So, the key to extending our years is learning to find quiet time every day to relax and simply enjoy the gift of our breathing.

That is what I am doing, giving myself permission to stop long enough to see, to hear and to breathe in the wonder of being alive.

The morning is fast moving toward the midway point and even with the breeze, it is getting hot. In the distance, I hear a car horn blowing and a hammer pounding. I know it is time for me to get into “doing” mode, but I feel reluctant to move.

So before I leave my perch beside the water, I take a few more slow, deep breaths, feeling the sense of calm and peace that fills my soul. Then, I rise and walk toward my house singing softly to myself.

“For the beauty of the earth. For the glory of the skies. For the love which from our birth over and around us lies. Lord of all to thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise.”

(For the Beauty of the Earth written by Folliott S. Pierpoint in 1864)