Notes on the Journey

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Beautiful Bosque

The Rio Grande River runs through Albuquerque, splitting it into east and west sections.  Along the river is the area known as the Bosque (Spanish for "woods").  And, right now, the entire Bosque is golden.  All the trees have turned and it's breathtakingly beautiful.

It surprises me how suddenly and stunningly the leaves turn into such an array of deep color.  One day things are green; and, the next day, everything is red and gold.  It was only days ago that I wondered to myself when the trees along the Bosque would turn gold.  This morning, I had to drive from where I live in the north eastern part of Albuquerque, across the river to the north western part of Albuquerque; and, as I drove over the river and then north along the western side of it, I was transfixed by the beauty of the acres and miles of golden trees.  It's quite a site.

The photo to the left is the still-blooming lavender in my front yard with the gold and red trees in my neighbor's yard behind it.  I'm just dazzled by the richness of the colors I see all around me.  And, I'm so happy to be here to experience it this year.  I missed my wisteria blooming earlier, so I'm extra grateful to be here for the fall colors now.

We had our first winter weather blow through today.  It started out very gray this morning and we got a nice amount of rain.  Now, the sky has cleared to blue with huge fluffy white clouds patched through it.  The late afternoon sun is shining and bringing everything to brilliant life.

Albuquerque is one of those places that kind of creeps up on you.  At first impression, you'd be a rare person to find it beautiful, although it's very beautiful.  Many people who come here just blow through on their way to Santa Fe or Taos, which are very different geographies.  But, if you're lucky enough to stay for a while, or to come here for multiple visits, the beauty of the place reveals itself to you, and you become enchanted by it.  Which is one of the reasons New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment.

There are many things to be enchanted by in this simple and sometimes stark place.  And, I truly find myself grateful everyday to be able to call Albuquerque home.  There aren't that many places I've been where I'm struck by beauty on a daily basis, but this is one of those places.  I'm fed and nurtured by the beauty here in a very special way.  There are many types of beauty, and Albuquerque is in the desert and might not be everyone's idea of what a beautiful place looks like, but I would encourage them to be more observant and not to overlook it, or to dismiss it unexamined.

Wherever you live, I hope you're fed and nurtured by its beauty.  I hope you appreciate the nature by which you're surrounded.  And, if you're not surrounded by nature, then I hope you appreciate that one tree or one plant that graces your environment.  I'm mostly overcome with gratitude these days, which makes me more observant and appreciative of my surroundings.  But, for those of you who might be caught up with work and the everyday stresses of living, and who've forgotten to notice the beauty around you, I would encourage you to have a "stop and smell the roses" moment.  It's so refreshing and renewing to stop for a moment and take in the beauty that's right next to us.  Look up into the blue of the sky.  Watch the clouds move overhead.  Notice the plants and the trees.  Soak up a ray of sunshine.  Simple things that take just a second, but that can give us a whole new perspective.  And, when we do it and feel grateful for it, we've uplifted our whole day.

If we can just feel gratitude for any small thing in our lives, it reshapes everything and opens us to receive what Life wants to give us on a much larger scale.  I was sick yesterday and felt miserable.  I spent the greater part of the day making trips back and forth from my bed to the bathroom and then rolling around groaning in between.  But, as I lay there in my misery, I felt compassion for everyone anywhere in the world who is sick or in pain.  And, I was grateful that, for me, the misery would be brief and temporary.  I was grateful for my caring cats who cuddled me all day because they knew I wasn't feeling well.  I was grateful for the fluffy blanket that kept me warm.  I was grateful that I had a roof over my head.  So many things to be grateful for.

Even though feeling gratitude has been easier for me lately, I'm consciously creating a habit of being grateful.  Whenever I find myself feeling down or moving into a dark place, I change my point of focus to one that illicits gratitude.  Sometimes I wallow a bit before I realize what I'm doing, but then I catch myself and move my awareness to something that makes me grateful.  And, I'm immediately uplifted.  There's no shortage of things to be grateful for, even if it's just that I'm alive.  Because, if it's our intention to be grateful, we'll find something to take us there.  And, no matter how difficult things seem, with just a small change in focus we can move ourselves into a place of gratitude.  And, what I've found for myself, is that once I'm in a place of gratitude, solutions to whatever seems to be plaguing me in the moment seem to reveal themselves.

So, for now, I'm grateful for the fall colors and the beauty that surrounds me and for my ability to see it and appreciate it.  What are you grateful for?  Find something.  Right now.  And then, revel in it.  Sink into it and let the gratitude take you and have its way with you.  Yes.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  It's pretty much the antidote for whatever ails you.  And, it might not fix whatever you think the current problem is, but it will make you feel better about it.  So, if it's not your habit to be grateful, try it.  Next time you feel yourself going down, switch it up and feel grateful instead.  You'll be amazed at the difference it makes.      

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