Slowing Down

Close up photo of the needles of a pine tree with a little bit of snow clinging to the needles.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve slowed down a lot lately. I’m trying to be intentional about how I move through my day. It’s self care for sure. It’s also because I feel like our world is asking us to slow down. To pull back from the rush. To refocus on what is most important. For us to really look at our priorities and be sure they are aligned with our best selves.

I was already feeling that I needed to really be clear about what my boundaries are as I entered into 2020. My hope was to spend more time hiking and exploring the beautiful state of Minnesota, traveling to hike and camp in California and Indiana with family and to take a camper van to the Southwest with my love. As each date has arrived and the trips have been cancelled, I’ve been disappointed. But I know that what I’m doing by staying home is the right thing and still feel even now six weeks on.

What I’ve found as I have slowly emerged from my house here and there for walks in my neighborhood is that I need to re-evaluate my way of looking at hiking. These walks are shorter than I’d like. They are what I have energy for right now. I’m really liking this slowed pace. I have challenged myself to be more observant. It all started with our early April snowfall a week or so ago.

One chilly afternoon recently where the weather was vacillating between runs and sun I needed some time outside and knew that the weather would keep the number of people outside down so I could have the outdoor solitude I was seeking. As I was walking past a pine and noticed the brightness of the needles against the grey sky. I paused to take look closer. Such beauty in this tiny cluster of needles and seed.

A further along I came upon a forsythia starting to bloom. Its bright yellow flowers one of the first signs of spring. Then, as I moved closer to home, the rain reappeared. It was a driving rain with bits of snow mixed in. Then the sun reappeared revealing more flower blooms waiting for a bit of warmth to help them stretch to their full beauty.

It got me thinking that the silver lining was that I was realizing that there must be other tiny things I’ve been rushing past. What else have I been missing? A few days later I arrived home in the early evening from a walk only to have a small flash of purple in my garden catch my eye. I’ve had this small patch of crocus that I’d always assumed the squirrels had dug up years ago because I hadn’t seen them bloom. The more likely truth is that they’ve bloomed many times since I planted them, but I’ve been too busy in the spring heading to work and my son’s baseball games to see them. When you enter your house most often from one side and the flowers on the other side it’s easy to miss the details.

I’m glad I’ve slowed down. I’ve watched clouds flowing above the sprawling branches of the tree in my yard reminding me of water flowing in a clear blue river. I’ve heard the call of birds, the rustle of leaves and the power of wind driving along. Spring offers the hope of rebirth. It offers brightness after cold winter here in Minnesota. The colors seem brighter and sweeter this year. If you are finding you are slowing down, what have you noticed?

Photo of a group of hikers on a sunny day in a field heading towards a wooded area. The photographer has taken the photo from behind the group.

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One thought on “Slowing Down

  1. Beautiful words Ruth. I too have slowed and learned to appreciate the small things around me that I just used to just blast past. These times are hard to navigate in so many ways, but I am grateful for this opportunity to reflect. Blessings to you friend!

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