Meditation on nature

large mushroom

Amanita mushroom

“Pay attention,” is a demand most of us have heard from teachers, parents or spouses. It usually means, “Listen to me.” But paying attention means more than listening.

I attended a recent conference, in which speaker Linda Anderson Krech spoke about a rule she and her husband made about paying attention when taking a walk.  While they moved from their home to the end of the driveway, they could bring up any topic. But once they’d left that zone, they could only talk about what they were noticing around them.yellow leaves

I shared her story with my husband on our last walk. Neither of us is interested in creating new rules, but we were intrigued by the notion of paying attention to our surroundings.  Although we walk on busy streets, nature surrounds us. We pass by mini-forests, a tree-lined boulevard, plenty of home flower gardens, and an osprey nest, from which mournful cries arise every spring and continue through the summer. But how often do we really pay attention?

halloween yardMore often than not, we carry on conversations about random events or walk silently, lost in our thoughts. On this keeping-our-eyes-open-and-mouths-shut walk, we noticed crops of shaggy mane and amanita mushrooms pushing up from under piles of fallen leaves. We commented on changes in trees since we’d last covered this territory, and felt energized by conversation that focused on our beautiful surroundings.

Paying attention has value beyond seeing familiar objects through fresh eyes. I’m inspired to write more about this topic, but plan to portion it out, making it easier to hold readers’ attention.

About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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1 Response to Meditation on nature

  1. Pingback: Pay attention and change your life | Still Life

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