AND Smile

October 6th, 2013

Every spring brings spring fever for me. As soon as the sun and warmth return, I am ready to go outside, skip work, and simply enjoy the gift of being outside in the sunshine and warm breezes. There is such fun in playing hooky from the adult-defined responsible choices of staying inside to finish work! AND sometimes just the thought of escaping into the sunshine and warmth brings a smile that creeps across the face.

As much as I have always enjoyed spring, playing in the sun and celebrating the new season, autumn has always been my favorite season—cool crisp nights, brightly colored leaves, a sense of vibrancy associated with the colors and invigorating temperatures. This year with the approach of autumn, I have noticed how many people come to the beach wrapped in blankets, sweatshirts, and hoods just to watch the ocean. They are not like the beachgoers from the summer. Filled with appreciation and a more serene relationship with their surroundings, they seem to celebrate the last days of summer, clearly vanishing into cooler temperatures, in quieter and more grateful ways.

On my walks, when I pass the off-season beachgoers, they smile, nod, or wave, eager to simply share the beauty. A sense of peacefulness and appreciation creates a shared experience. The haste and bustle of summer activity has vanished. The love of a beautiful day, warm sun, and gentle surf has not. And in a walk along the cliffs this past week, I was struck by the number of people who were walking with a smile on their face and a ready grin or pleasantry for all they passed. People moved aside with ease to make way for faster walkers. There was no expression of heated annoyance or frustration that routines were being disrupted by others who moved either more slowly or more quickly.

I noticed both a desire to celebrate every last drop of warmth that a lingering summer day dished out and an appreciation of beaches freed from crowds, returned to their natural beauty and openness. In both a literal and metaphorical sense, the heat is missing. With cooler temperatures there is more space to move around each other and mutually share the beauty.

AND I wonder what it would take to find the beauty and natural rhythms in whatever surroundings we find ourselves. What does it take to disconnect from the heat and crowdedness of a situation to connect with the beauty and possibility of shared experience? AND what does it take on a daily basis to remember what a gift a smile can be—to both give and receive.

Comments are closed.