Discoveries await

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 11, 2015

Sherry Hopkins Columnist

Discoveries await those who stop, listen, look around them

I am going for a walk in the woods this morning, just beyond my house. It is late fall and I am wearing Hunter Orange so I will not be mistaken for a deer. The orange screams look at me! I just want peace and solitude, not screaming neon colors.
I disappear into the thick stand of oaks, elms, hickories and pines. The slight breeze gently rustles the tree tops like ballerinas. The pine straw and dead leaves beneath my feet make crackling sounds and it is soothing.
Just minutes into the trail, around a sharp bend and down a steep embankment I first hear the waves of the lake softly lapping at the shoreline.
All this that surrounds me is why I am here. The sounds, the smells, the water.
I have discovered an abundance of things to do since retiring. Things that keep my senses keen and cost very little to partake in, if anything at all.
Some days I sit in the old overstuffed chair situated just under the southwest window of the den. The afternoon sun cascades through the open blinds casting an interesting pattern on the floor in front of me. I can sit here undisturbed for hours and read, warmed and pages glowing by the same afternoon sun. Every once in a while I stop reading and cast my eyes around the room and say a prayer of thanksgiving for the many blessings in my life.
On the weekends Dear Don and I find common comfort sitting in the rockers in the patio. We have fashioned a bird/butterfly sanctuary of sorts in the small garden. It is here we watch, rarely talking, smiling often and quietly pointing to a bird or butterfly or amphibian that has made its way to the garden.
My old hand-me-down bird guide sits on the table year round. Its pages tattered and yellowed, its leather cover well  worn.  I still use it each time I am here.
Some Saturday afternoons we drive into town after first stopping for a cold drink and nabs. We find a busy spot, park and observe. We imagine the lives and destinations of others as they scurry from stop to stop. We get tickled at our outlandish imaginations and laugh and laugh. The endorphins make us giddy. We have to stop, take deep breaths and fall back into the car seats to relax a moment before starting again.
Sunday afternoon drives have become routine for us. We delight in back roads and rarely leave the county. There is a draw for us in  the canopies of trees that shade the old roads. We remark on pastoral land and think what it might be like to live there and what kind of house we would have. We have no agenda and no route and that is where we find the pleasure. We love old barns and falling down houses that still have stories to tell. We imagine the lives that once lived there too.
All of these simple things are so gratifying. I know it is because we are walking into the quieter, less hectic years of our lives. I can think of so many things to do when I slow down just a bit. Things that seem far more important than how much dust is on the furniture or how clean the kitchen may be.
To live in the moment, to realize your small place in the world, to acknowledge God the Creator of all that your senses can handle is humbling and I am indeed humbled.
(Contact Sherry at

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