A recent visit to the beach allowed me to slow down a bit and take a little extra time to check out my surroundings. On the first day, I noticed the sun as it filtered through the thickly layered palm fronds casting unique and intricate shadows on the ground below. The palm’s showmanship commanded my attention causing me to completely stop and take it all in.
As I stood perfectly still studying nature’s exquisite artwork, a gentle breeze decided to visit. It danced with the fronds causing the sunlight and shadows to shift into motion. I was completely captivated by nature’s beautiful show happening right in front of me. There were no tickets needed for this performance. It was absolutely free.
With my normally hectic schedule, I might have missed all this but I promised myself I would soak in more of my surroundings while I was on vacation. Although one doesn’t have to travel anywhere to experience the everyday beauty around us, sometimes a change of scenery graciously offers a much needed nudge to slow down.
Riding my bike on another day offered a completely different natural stage. As I left heavily populated areas behind, the further I rode into nature the larger the stage became. Against the massive background of large oaks, tall pines intermingled with palms and the birds chirped in perfect harmony. They didn’t need an orchestra pit or any music to read. They just performed the only way they innately knew — from the heart. I’ve seen many Broadway plays but none with any more beautiful and elaborate backgrounds that I passed on my ride.
Many of the huge oaks so strongly rooted in Georgia coastal history are decorated with a natural, delicate tinsel much like the tiny silver strands we hang on our Christmas tree branches. Spanish moss drapes on most of the trees, hanging in thick clumps and tapering down to single pieces. The trees appear to be covered with pale gray hair that is more than happy to wave to you as you pass. It’s a truly remarkable sight that has the ability to take your breath away.
Late one afternoon, the crystal blue skies filled with dark clouds bringing a summer storm with them. At first, I was disappointed but then I remembered that rain covers nature like a thin sugar glaze does a pound cake. After a rain, each and every crevice of nature is filled and left gleaming with a natural shine. I didn’t have to look any further than high into the oaks. The already beautiful draping moss appeared to be glittering as the sun began to shine again.
Sometimes clouds visit without bringing rain with them. Clouds came and went several times during our week of vacation. I rode my bike along the beach on one of those sunless days. Many beachgoers appeared to be upset that the sun had forsaken them and deprived them of a darker tan. The crowds were noticeably thinner but some people weren’t deterred. As I looked out to sea, I noticed that the line where the ocean ends and the sky begins was almost indistinguishable. Everything appeared to be a little blurred but not necessarily in a bad way. The landscape was more delicate as mist surrounded it.
Beauty comes in all colors and intensities. When the bright, cobalt blue sky decides it needs some rest, the sun trades places with the moon but not before it says goodnight with splashes of flaming oranges, bright purples, subtle turquoises and deep reds. I was lucky enough to be on the pier to say goodnight to the sun on a couple of nights.
There is beauty all around us that is free for the taking. Our world is a gorgeous place. All we have to do is stop long enough to notice the beauty that it’s more than willing to share. Even when we forget to notice, nature has a way of reminding us to take time to be still and enjoy!
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