Watching More than the Grass Grow

Jason and I go for a walk almost every day. Usually more than once a day.

For years now Jason and I have walked as soon as our work day was over.   Jason would get home from work and off we went for a walk.

Now that Covid-19 has turned our lives upside down and inside out – we often walk together during our lunchtime break from work too. (We have both noticed how much better we feel when we are less sedentary. It is so much easier to work and to think after some exercise!)

In our neighborhood – we have a reputation for being folks who walk.

Just this week one of our neighbors stopped us to ask how many pairs of shoes we wear out each year. He was being silly – but the truth is I walk through about 3 or 4 pairs of sturdy   hiking shoes each year. I walk the tread right off my walking shoes.   It seems asphalt is hard on whatever my shoes are made of.

Walking together long ago became a daily habit for us. It is quite simply part of who we are and how we live in this world.

We have 3 walking patterns that we have developed over the years that fit our family’s needs. Sometimes we can wander further afield and other times we need to stay closer to home.

But our neighborhood is not particularly large by Louisville standards. So – no matter which walking pattern we choose – the paths we walk are very – very well trod. We see the same things over and over and over again on our walks. The same homes – the same yards – the same flowerbeds – the same trees – the same EVERYTHING. Day after day – month after month for almost 9 years now.

At first one might think this would be painfully boring. That seeing the same things over and over and over again would be mind numbingly dull. But thankfully it isn’t. There is joy to be had in knowing something really well. I have found it can be a blessing to be deeply familiar with something.

And over the years I have learned that even when things are deeply familiar – there is so much to see.

First – I have favorite things I look and listen for on our walks.   There is a pair of nesting hawks in our neighborhood. Watching our hawks soar and swoop and hunt and listening to them call and scream is a highlight of our walks. I am quite smitten with our hawks.

I am all about watching clouds. I can and do watch clouds for a very long time. I find the sky to be fascinating.

But what truly captures my attention are the small things. I notice so many little changes in my world.   The minutiae. Those things you would never notice when you were driving by in a car or if you were staring at your smartphone or just simply not looking for them. These are often the things that delight and amaze me the most.

This week it was fungi. Seriously – I kid you not. It was fungi that caught and kept my attention. Fungi were popping up in yards all over our neighborhood. And there was a truly intriguing assortment.

I was mesmerized and delighted and intrigued and amazed.

And this array of fungi grew and spread so quickly. Sometimes there would just be hours between our walks and yet in that time – the fungi would be visibly different. It was amazing to watch them grow and spread and change.

There are 75,000 scientifically identified species of fungi!   And scientists think there are likely a million more that they haven’t yet identified!?! Talk about intriguing . . .

I had no idea what I was looking at – but it didn’t matter. What I was looking at was beautiful and elegant and lovely.

Look at those shapes . . . and colors . . .

Look at the way they contrast with the green of the grass . . . Amazing – right?

I try to keep myself open to surprises and things that might just delight me. I have developed an eye for detail. I notice subtle changes.   I see the little things. I let my eyes wander while my feet pound the pavement and I see amazing things. Beautiful things. Humbling things.   Blessings . . .

I find that many of the greatest blessings in my life are the blessings I might not even notice if I weren’t open to seeing them – to noticing them – to being delighted by them.

It would be easy to miss them – to walk right on by – to be too absorbed – too busy – too hurried – too harried – too distracted . . .

(And I know I am missing so – so many blessings because I am often too absorbed – too busy – too hurried – too harried – too distracted – too arrogant – too lots of things . . . )

This one was literally as big as my head!!!

Have you tried slowing down lately? Have you tried noticing and looking and listening? Have you tried watching for something surprising?

What have you noticed? What have you seen? How have you been blessed?

You are all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.

In Christ and with Love –

Pastor Kerri

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