|Koda and I taking in our surroundings while we stop for coffee on our morning walk|
This thought wasn't based on my perception of my perception (see how I did that??? Tricky!) It was based on everyday experience. Every morning Jadon and I take a walk together. No matter how early we have to wake up to make this happen, we make it happen. Before I was pregnant, it was a morning run, but now it's a walk. So every morning I step outside and notice the birds, or lack of birds chirping. Not a morning goes by that I don't notice and mention the beauty of the sky or the stillness of the air or even the size of the moon (since our walks are often before the sun comes up).
Last week my sister came to visit and I was telling her about this realization and she said, "I always notice God's creation around me too." We talked about why this is and why the majority of people probably don't notice these things. We boiled it down to one thing...we were taught to greatly appreciate these things over everything else...let me explain.
I grew up in Wyoming with very non-conventional parents. We didn't go to movies on a Friday evening, we drove through the hills looking for Elk, Antelope, Deer or Wild Horses. I remember bouncing along in the backseat of our old Suburban peering out the window looking for an animal on the horizon. I was barely big enough to see out the window and so I would get up on my knees to get a better view. My Dad would turn around and say, "Peel your eyes kids, this a great place to see Elk (or another animal)." My mom always had an old bird book stashed in the glove box and she would pull it out to identify any bird she was unsure about.
Our family spent vacations camping, not going to Disney world. Laying awake at night and listening to coyotes yip or wolves howl wasn't disconcerting. It something to lie awake and marvel at. In the morning we would discuss how many we thought were in the pack and how far away we thought they were.
Some of my favorite trips were backpacking trips with my Dad. He's always had an uncanny ability to know directions in the wilderness. On one particular trip, He brought a map of the mountain range we were in, not because he needed it but because he wanted us all to learn the names of the mountain peaks around us. We would sit around the camp fire and identify the mountains. To this day I can see those mountains from a distance and still identify some of the peaks.
When we were hiking we were taught to notice the smells around us. Did we smell deer or antelope or elk (you know they all have a unique scent that they leave if they have been in the area). We watched the ground for tracks and then identified what animal the track belonged to.
All of these things are so precious to me and I'm forever grateful to parents who made God's creation the priority, not media or technology or whatever the "new cool" kid's activity or toy was.
As I think about having my own little girl in my arms soon I know I want her to have the same experience I had. I hope I can be just as unconventional and wonderful as my parents were. I know that there will be times that baby girl #1 or any of the other children Jadon and I may have, will complain about this (I know I did); but I also know that it's the eternal things that matter. People matter...do we truly SEE people around us? Creation matters...it's God's handiwork all around us. I believe being perceptive to nature also teaches us to be perceptive to people. It means that we are tapped into our surroundings, whether that be people or nature. Jesus was always fully present and I want to be the same way as well as teach/model that to my children.