Learning not to Overlook Beauty

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A few years back, when my son was two, we spotted an all white deer while a full moon was rising. I determined to get a photo, so we went back several evenings to get another glimpse. Whitetail deer are creatures of habit. However, I knew as the summer waxed hotter and grass grew coarser, the deer would most likely move on to different grazing grounds. A good photo in the fading light would require getting close, so we would have to sneak up on the deer. My son begged to go with me. It’s hard to say no to a toddler when he has that much excitement about the outdoors. I made him promise to keep quiet and allowed him to tag along.

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As we snuck through the woods, he remained very intent on the mission of getting a closer look. He stopped with me every time we saw the tail wag right before the deer would lift up its head. He was engaged. The sun was setting, and I was not able to keep the camera steady enough to take a clear photo through the zoom lens. My photos were all blurry. We would have to creep closer to get a better shot with a shorter lens.

Behind me I heard, “Pine cones! I found pine cones!” The deer ran off. There remained only one thing to do, stop and admire the pinecones that had caught my sons attention.

An all white deer is rare indeed. Since then, I’ve seen two more in another state. However, my son brought me back to a world where common beauty was as enjoyable as the rare. I still go on expeditions to find something unusual. However, I keep admiring the everyday beauty, as I have learned from my children.

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Learning Observation Skills

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A coworker surprised me with the statement that he had only seen one eagle in the wild in his lifetime. The surprise came from the fact that we work in the same fields and I see eagles almost on a daily basis. Within twenty minutes of that conversation I spotted an eagle. It took a week however, for me to spot one that I could point out to my coworker.

I do not need to remind you of the cliches on the beauty and glory of eagles. It suffices to say that I still get excited every time I spot one and have a few moments to watch. It helps me understand how after seeing a million pinecones and acorns, my children still get excited when they find one. The sublime does not cease to be sublime because it is familiar. It is healthy to frequently remind ourselves of the miracles and beauty around us and take a little time to enjoy them.

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I recommend that you rethink those common things around you. Take a closer look at a spider web, the pattern of bark on a tree, or grass blowing in the wind. Listen for a bird song you do not recognize, to someone’s laughter, or the difference in wind through the pines verses oak trees. What is it that once made you wonder but is now familiar?

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I learned to quickly spot eagles by learning their silhouette and flight patterns. Eagles are most commonly confused with circling carrion. Vultures fly with their wings in a “V” shape and eagle’s silhouettes are straight. The feathers of an adult or immature eagle will glisten in the sun even a long distance away. Ducks and geese will spot an eagle long before I do. Listening to their reaction will clue me in when one is near.

Enrich your life by taking time to observe the sublime. Every environment has its beauty. Your excitement for life will increase.

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Quote:

My son upon learning that the chocolate rabbit was hollow. “That’s an Easter Bummer!”