Recently I took a trip to find the reds and golds and oranges of fall leaves, announcing the ongoing change of seasons. And I found those glorious colors almost everywhere. But I was also surprised by some other little delights along the way. These little surprises remind me to always be willing to stop, look and listen for little wonders that are all around!
As Ralph Waldo Emerson explains, “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting—a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, every fair sky, in every flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”
Here are some of the treasures that were waiting to be noticed while I was hunting for autumn leaves:
The first golden hues I noticed were not falling leaves but the golden bushes blooming in the Mojave Desert.
North of Bishop on Highway 395, Mono Lake was still shining forth, patiently holding on until the end of the drought.
This flag kept flying even through the rain was pounding down all day long in Redding.
Green—my favorite color—was evident all over. Always is. We just need to remember to notice and marvel at its persistence.
I am always pleasantly surprised to find wildlife along the road. This little guy was wandering the road in Yosemite National Park.
In Yosemite, I also had a little passenger for a bit, while sitting at a road block when crews worked on trimming and removing some trees. She did not pose very well, but I felt lucky all day having spent some time with this little ladybug—especially in October.
At various stops on my trip, I was delighted by the flowers that caught my eye. Not the fall colors I was looking for, but gorgeous nonetheless.
I really enjoyed the rain that punctuated this trip. The impressive clouds were just an added bonus.
My trip was great, but it was made better by these unexpected delights. My best advice? Always keep your eyes and heart open for whatever delightful surprises might come your way. As Boris Pasternak explains, “Surprise is the greatest gift that life can grant us.” But it is up to us to notice the wonders along the way.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A FEW QUOTES ABOUT SURPRISES
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein
“Things never go the way you expect them to. That’s both the joy and frustration in life. I’m finding as I get older that I don’t mind, though. It’s the surprises that tickle me the most, the things you don’t see coming.” Michael Stuhlbarg
“Life is so full of unpredictable beauty and strange surprises.” Mark Oliver Everett
“Surprises are everywhere in life.” Brownell Landrum
“Life is full of surprises and serendipity. Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success. If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns. Just find your next adventure—do it well, enjoy it—and then, not now, think about what comes next.” Condoleeza Rice
“The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust
“God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying, ‘Ah!’” Joseph Campbell
“In all things of nature there is something marvelous.” Aristotle
“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” Socrates
“The whole of life lies in the verb seeing.” Teilhard de Chardin
“Learn to see, and then you’ll know that there is no end to the new worlds of our vision.” Carlos Casaneda