Monday, June 4, 2012

What You See is What You Get

     What you see, the sages tell us, determines what you miss. Or, in a variation: You see what you look for.
     I was looking for wild iris when I took to the trails of my favorite local walk this weekend. These bright harbingers of spring erupt from the mud at trailside each year to fill my cells with glee. Just a glance and I am transported to my grandparents’ farm in the Willamette Valley and to the foothills I roamed as a child. They release the carefree spirit of a six-year-old on a sunny day.

     But on this walk, all I could see was their absence. Just a week ago, the flanks of Mt Pisgah were flush with purple blooms. So quickly the season has passed. As I continued up the woodlands trail, I gradually noticed what I hadn’t seen before. A new season had emerged.  Pink-blossomed wild roses flanked the trail. On the slopes, golden  Mule’s Ear and a host of flowers I cannot name.

     Perhaps because I have been preparing for an upcoming talk at a Seattle-area nature reserve, I saw more than fresh flowers where once the iris had bloomed. I saw a metaphor. To everything there is a season--nature mirroring for me the constant shifts in what flourishes and what declines. Nature reminding me to savor the moment and be willing to move on.

     As I approach another birthday in my own cycle of seasons, I find myself gazing back at losses rather than peering forward at what is yet to come. I am balking at the changing seasons. Yet, I know that if the iris were here all year long, their presence wouldn’t fill me with that surge of delight that I feel when I see them anew each spring.  In my life, as in nature, I am renewed with each fresh season.

     But wait. Lest you think I have drifted into pink-lensed Pollyanna-ism, let me offer another sighting. Higher up the trail, under the oak canopy where the shade is deeper and temperatures cooler, I found a few fading iris blooms, all but smothered now in the ominous new growth of poison oak. Beauty and the beast right there in nature. What do you think? Another lesson from nature? Another metaphor? 

       Share your thoughts with a comment or an email. Take a look at Healing Walks for Hard Times for more about the contributions of walking and nature to health and well-being. Like The Spirited Walker on Facebook to get Facebook notices of new posts. 


  1. I feel what you are writing about. Walking in the seasons offers alot of variety. I find each year some new discoveries. Walking what a blessing

    1. Thanks, Rev. Bill. So glad you are reading, enjoying and Walking!


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