Mountain Mornings

Nature, the Nightly News Neutralizer

For the last hour or so, I was at the edge of the creek watching the water tumbling by, hoping the kingfisher would fly past. Couldn’t hear anything but the rush of the wide waterway, gulping and gushing over the rocks. Much as I have on my to-do today, it was time well spent.

As I sat in the waiting area for my car’s oil change this morning, the usual “how the news suggests we’re all likely to die today” topics were circulating the room—recession, war, heat waves, shortages, shootings, natural disasters, you name it. Not a happy place for someone who records the six o’clock and then zips to the weather. Recent events have been heavy enough without wallowing in it all.

A digital sign across the road from the auto shop showed our temps were in the mid 70s. Warming, but not headed to the triple digits Atlanta is expecting. No person present had thriftily chosen to sprawl in the driveway, doing their own car repairs. None of us appeared physically deprived in any way. But the room fixated on adversity. Yikes.

Yes, there are countless people going through awful situations every minute of every day. But most of our individual moments are lighter than we acknowledge. And experiencing that little touch of nature—a pot of flowers on the porch, an office window over the retention pond, or an awesome hour on the creekbank—can let your mind briefly wander away from the world as we usually see it.

We can decide to lighten up our own space. See the good, find the good, be the good. Little bits are everywhere, and we could sprinkle more as we go along by lifting our minds to that brighter, gentler level.

“The happiness in your life depends on the quality of your thoughts,” said the last emperor of the Pax Romana, Marcus Aurelius. An idea that has inspired mankind for almost two thousand years should be worth a try.