Something Beautiful On The Side of The Road

I saw something beautiful on the side of the road

I was out for a winter walk on Sunday afternoon and I saw something beautiful on the side of the road.

I wonder if anyone else would agree that it was beautiful, though I’m not sure that matters much.

It had just finished snowing, topping off last week’s storm, resulting in a Tim Burton-esque playscape.

I crossed a busy street to distance myself from the neighborhoods and to walk closer to the nature preserve.

Almost everything was white, aside from some grass that was peaking through the snow like prickly hairs growing back after a shave. And also, there was a tiny patch of ice that was free from snow, perhaps cleared by the wind. I spotted it from 20 yards away as I was making my way along. I was drawn to it.

The patch looked like an ice skating rink for mice.

If it were summertime, it would be a bath for the birds.

Something about the contrast caught my attention. In this vast sea of white, a sliver of blue appeared. Though the blue was heavy on the gray, it was a lovely contrast. The mini ice rink was a distinct shape among the massive blanket of snow that covered almost everything in sight, and it pleased my eyes and perked me up.

I stopped in my tracks to admire and snap a photo.

I doubt anyone in the passing cars paid me much attention. But if they had, they might have thought I was seeing something spectacular or never-before-seen. Which was true, wasn’t it? This moment on the side of the road had never existed in this form or in this place, and had never been viewed by my eyes. By default that makes it spectacular, yeah? Or maybe the passengers of those passing vehicles looked in my direction, spotted me snapping a photo, and looked beyond my lens, to see what I was capturing. Which of course, they might have failed to see what I saw from where they were sitting.

Maybe it was the air, or the walk on a Sunday afternoon with no one for what appeared to be at least miles that had me feeling lighter and capable of seeing so much beauty in a patch of ice. But it was simple. Delightful. A Sunday treat. Something that is typically easier to spot and appreciate when traveling by foot, at a slower pace.

It’s funny how life life can seem so busy. Sometimes we forget how to go for a walk and point out all the beauty we see along the way. Sometimes life can feel so fast that we believe we must cram in a walk with the intention of getting our steps in as we run from thing to thing barely looking up from our chores.

But what does that approach leave us with? Is there room left for spotting something beautiful that hides in plain sight that is all too often overlooked? Is there space for noticing the details that live right in front of us but will only catch our eye if we would slow down and look up to see?

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