Remember when you were a kid and got excited about something, hardly able to contain your joy as you skipped along with wild abandon? Remember how it made you lose track of everything but the moment, totally unselfconscious and free? Wow, what a feeling! Absolutely glorious. Have you felt like that lately? What makes you skip with joy?
I was talking with a new friend recently at the North Carolina Arboretum and she was reminiscing about a time years ago when her kids were young and she had just indulged in waiting for the perfect light for a photograph. Impatient with the necessary wait, her family had moved off to to the car. After capturing the moment she had imagined she headed back to the car, thrilled when a rattlesnake crawled out from the grass to make its way across the path. When she arrived at the car, skipping with joy, her son exclaimed, “You must have seen something great!”
And she had…inspiring a genuine “skipping moment.”
You never know when you are going to have a wonderful wildlife encounter. Everyday has the potential for many, though of course we first need to put ourselves out there where we can actually be present for them.
I have been having so many skipping moments lately that sometimes I think I might burst with the pure joy of them. I have been spending every morning in some patch of wild land near my house. These aren’t famous parks or even recognizable locations in most cases, but to me they offer GOLD, making me feel like a kid in a candy store. You know that swath of land by the farmer’s field or that lot beside the school or church or grocery store that is filled with what most people would immediately label as “weeds?” Any of those might be where I’ve been spending time lately, places long ago forgotten and left to Mother Nature to tend them.
There’s a field a few miles away, set between a soccer field and a tomato field that is jam-packed with a lovely yellow and brown flower called purple headed sneezeweed. What a terrible name! The flower is just as pretty as one you’d find in an established garden. In the mornings it sparkles with dew, tiny drops of water hanging silently from every yellow petal.
There’s another wild area that people pass through on the way to a perfectly manicured golf course. Here there are three ponds and enough interesting creatures to keep me captivated for hours. The other day I sat beside the still water for probably an hour, never moving more than a few inches, transfixed by the tiny critters most people never notice. As I watched, a purple damselfly darted out and snagged a yellow and blue fly, pausing just inches away to claim his breakfast. With my heart racing, I adjusted the camera and captured the moment. Add to that two-lined spittlebugs and iridescent jumping spiders, grasshoppers, crickets and other insects I don’t even know the names of.
This Saturday morning while the rest of the world lay peacefully in their beds, I was out at yet another area I love exploring. An abandoned housing development, this wild land offers countless treasures for those who look with the right eyes. Today the blue sky and sunlight made a perfect backdrop for tiny drops of water that decorated dozens of silken spider webs. Add to that blue-winged dragonflies coated with dew and brightly colored butterflies feeding on purple flowers that dazzle the senses.
I have become addicted to the hunt for beauty, mesmerized by the tiny wonders I find when I slow down and truly look. I am content to be buried by tall goldenrod, milkweed, ironweed, by joe-pye weed and jewelweed…. Whoever thought to call these lovely flowers weeds? All deserve better; all are butterfly magnets. My gosh! The variety of things these plants attract! It seems a sin to call them weeds!
When was the last time you experienced a moment that made you feel like skipping?
If the answer is a long time ago, please schedule something soon that makes your heart smile and your soul laugh with glee. These pleasures are free and always out there if you slow down long enough to notice them…
“In every single moment there is significance. Wonder is sprinkled all around us.” -Flavia
Check out some more moments that made me SKIP WITH JOY!