Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ordinary Beauty

"Rainy Day in the Desert"

It sure seemed dark this morning. 

Usually by the time I get my coffee and go out to the garden for my morning reflection, the sun has begun to show signs of breaking through as the desert is bathed in the soft light of a pre-dawn glow.  But not this morning....today the skies were blanketed with a quilt of dark clouds, the mountains were enshrouded, and soon rain drops began to fall, driving me indoors. 

We rarely get rain out here where I live. It all seemed so different to me - kind of depressing. 

As I sat inside my house and watched the falling rain I was struck with a gradual realization that those drops of rain and dark clouds in the mountains were actually gifts given to me this day -a new opportunity for seeing beauty in the ordinary things of life, even in those things that may appear to be gloomy and drab. 

This morning as I sat inside my house I was reminded of something I recently read from a book of Buddhist Essays in an article titled: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes:

Life seems repetitive and boring when you don't notice the uniqueness of each moment
and the constant subtle changes that are going on all around you.

When we are mindful and awake, paying attention to the revelations of each and every moment, we are then able to notice the hidden, subtle beauty in even the most ordinary circumstances of routine everyday life.

The essay goes on to reflect on an incident of finding extraordinary beauty on a dreary, rainy day:

Today it's raining...think of the possibilities!

On a day like this you might see red, yellow, or green traffic lights reflected on wet pavement. You might see raindrops running down a window pain or hanging from a railing or overhead wire. You might see two people walking under a bright green umbrella. You might see a dull grey sky or a wet red truck. 

Inside,  there will be soft shadows and muted colors. You might even sit inside and look through the drops on a window and see the landscape in a new way through odd-shaped rainbow lenses. 

This morning as I watch the rain I am very grateful for the wisdom of these words.

When I first got up this morning and saw the gloomy clouds, I began complaining to myself: "No walking today I guess. I don't even know if I have an umbrella. The cold rain is making the house feel damp and if it keeps up it's  going to make the roads slippery and hard to drive." 

But now, as I think about it, I'm actually looking forward to the possibilities today may have to offer me.  

I look out at the mountains. There is no more beautiful sight than to see them shrouded in a mystical mist. I look around my house and I wonder if I can take a picture of the muted colors shadowed everywhere on this sunless day that are so extraordinary beautiful. Yes, when I look out at my garden through the drops of rain on my window it does indeed take on a whole new look. And I bet I can find an umbrella somewhere and walk out into the neighborhood today to exchange greetings with my fellow desert dwellers enjoying the uniqueness of refreshing rain on a desert day. 

So I am grateful for this gift of rain - a lens to help me see the world with fresh new eyes today.  

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