Stop and Smell the Roses

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Photo taken at William Umstead Park in Raleigh, North Carolina.

When I was a very young child, I lived with my grandparents in a very remote countryside in Southeast Asia. A place full of green hills and fruit trees, it was in this beautiful setting that I fell madly in love with the beauty of nature.

A few times a week, in comfortable shoes and clothing, with water and light snacks at the ready, my grandparents and I would trek together among the trees and enjoy these moments in each other’s company. I looked forward to these little adventures. On our nature walks, I counted the fruits on trees, investigated the different shapes and sizes of leaves and (sometimes) picked the pretty flowers along the way in admiration. I chased dragonflies. I splashed in puddles. I ran on the trails. Some days, there was talking and laughing. Other days, the birds singing filled our silences as we continued to stroll under a canopy of green.

I look back at this memory with deep affection. I’m thankful for my grandparents who inspired me to love the outdoors. Now that I’m older, I still go on nature walks, but with a different, if more profound, appreciation for the time outside. To simply be in nature with no other distractions, showing up and observing, still and quiet, is extraordinary. Time seems to stand still like it did when I was a child, walking with my grandparents, just taking in the beauty… and falling in love with nature all over again.