Photo by Elaine Hamilton

There is something about connecting with nature that always brings about a sense of calmness and peace for me. Be it an evening walk, a moment watching a sunset, or strolling through a botanical garden with the heady scent of roses, honeysuckle, and tropical flowers.

I’ve always taken pleasure in noticing the uncanny, the odd, the sometimes humorous side of life, a woodpecker hanging on to the side of a tree, testing the bark, a balloon floating above the clouds that a child perhaps let go of for just a moment, the feeling of the rain as it falls, with a light mist during an afternoon shower, geese flying over my house on their way to their homes when the coolness of the night comes. I remember my cat sitting happily in the kitchen window with a look of pure delight as they honked across the sky. There are always moments that help us connect to the earth, to God, to Mother Nature. If you close your eyes, I’m sure that you can recall that feeling of a cool breeze on a summer night, the rush of air after a sweltering day.

I’ve been blessed to have done a lot of traveling, I’m mostly a city girl, but I enjoy cool green grass and the ocean. There is just this calling in my soul to listen to waves and see moonlight on the water. My inner siren compels me and I must obey. I can recall a moment of sheer bliss when after being away, I found myself back in California at a local beach. The smell of salt, seagulls flying over, bright sunshine and water, was exactly what this girl needed. Waves were rolling in, creating white foam, and people were laughing watching them crash against the shore. I remember snapping a picture just as the waves hit the beach and it was indeed a moment in time, pure joy as the cool spray hit me. Underneath the palms and sunshine, there couldn’t have been a more sterling memory. I ate seafood by the pier that day, and corn on the cob, dripping with butter, I watched the fishermen cast their nets and just breathed while watching the sun slowly sink into oblivion, leaving a gold and lavender trail behind. Lights came on in the restaurants beckoning people to come and spend some time sitting on the patio, and I fondly remember eating fresh crab on a sourdough roll and drinking from a frosty mug.

We do not often take the time to slow down, to simply be present. We miss out on the things that really stick with us, weeks, months, sometimes years later. I can still remember how it felt to run through white sand and the touch of the spray coming from the ocean. I can recall the breeze through the palm trees and the slight sting of sunburn on my nose the next day as I packed to go home. That was true joy, to leave the world behind for just a day and let the child inside out to play. It’s perfectly okay to do that. Make some memories this year, make it count, find your moment of bliss, whatever it may be. Find what makes you smile going into 2021.