More than half the Earth’s population lives in urban areas; together we have been trained to block out the sirens, construction screeches, cars honking, and constant drone of the city. Our lives bustle along with it, speeding to school, chatting on the phone, running to the store, scrambling to meet deadlines. My life was like this. The world’s rollercoaster had me twisted in its loop before I even realized I was buckled in. At the time I liked it, being busy had a sense of importance, as if it was proof of living, and of growing up.
As Socrates wisely said, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” The many things I demanded of myself seemed to define me. Who I was depended on how much I could accomplish within 24 hours; yet, I didn’t feel accomplished at all. I had lost time for me, the time one needs to feel still. I was enwrapped in society’s spin, ‘you only live once,’ and I didn’t want to miss anything. There were so many opportunities, responsibilities and potential as to who I could become. How did I choose what I want? How was I supposed to filter my dreams to fit the world’s expectations?
Summer is the season of freedom and that summer I was desperately searching for an escape. My family took a trip to a lake, far away from our circle of existence. While they were eating and talking, I took our canoe out onto the water. A lone trout flicked his tail at the surface as my canoe floated closer. A sage osprey soared up above, russet feathers flickering as it glided into its weaved home amongst the towering treetops. An emerald Lilly pad tangled alongside my vessel as a timid otter glided down the bank into the sparkling water. I could feel my mind relax as I inhaled the sweet mountain air. There was no phone vibrating in my pocket, no radio pounding in the background, just a perfect stillness. A warm breeze embraced my face as the sun was setting, and I understood the treasure lying before me.
This grand portrait radiated a reverent tranquility. I felt at home. I sat and soaked in the calm, letting my mind ponder in its simplicity. I believe in the peace nature’s beauty can bring to the soul.
Why did a small moment on a lake bring me such serenity? Many aspects of life are unpredictable, yet nature is steady and pure. Its modest invitation was merely to experience. My thoughts were at last welcome to delve, and in the special quiet, I could recognize an inner voice that had been so longing to be heard. It gave me the inspiration and solace I had been seeking.
The next day I was thrust back to my feverish schedule, back to the drama, the responsibilities and endless distractions. I was buckled in, but I wasn’t lost. When I started to feel overwhelmed, I could go back, back to the place that granted solace to a troubled mind.
As the aroma of newborn wildflowers twirled beneath my nose that day, I found something I didn’t expect. I found a relief from my hectic life. I realized I found peace in a moment so beautifully simple. I could feel my stress drain away with each dip of my oar, replaced with the feel of strong, smooth wood beneath my fingertips and a playful breeze tickling my hair as it danced down my spine. The calming hum of sunshine and life soaked into my soul and a smile caught on my lips.