“We rush through our days in such stress and intensity, as if we were here to stay and the serious project of the world depended on us. We worry and grow anxious; we magnify trivia until they become important enough to control our lives. Yet all the time we have forgotten that we are but temporary sojourners on the surface of a strange planet spinning slowly in the infinite night of the cosmos.” —John O’Donohue
I know. I probably sound like an ad for a bank. Come in, open a new checking account and claim your free ice chest.
But that’s not the kind of gifts I’m referring to. I’m talking about the continuous stream of gifts bestowed by the natural world. As I was driving home from pickleball this morning, I noticed a brilliant scarlet branch on a maple tree just blocks from my home. It literally made me gasp.
Every day, nature presents us with unbelievably beautiful gifts: stars that are billions of years old, fuzzy caterpillars crawling across our paths, hydrangeas, yellow butterflies. The gifts seem to be endless once you take time to look.
Even those who live in inner cities receive the gift each morning of the breaking dawn, signaling the possibility of a new day. As my new favorite poet, John O’Donohue says, “You never know what will land on the shoreline of tomorrow.”
So sure, material gifts like ice chests and toasters and, for that matter, new Michael Kors purses are okay. But the gifts I prefer remind me that I live in a galaxy that is one of a gazillion galaxies that has hundreds of billions of stars and enough gas and dust to make hundreds of billions more.
And because of my inseverable connection to this expanding, cosmic mystery, I have the responsibility to also create new things.
I believe that’s why all of us are here. To behold our wonderous gifts and to keep the creation going.
Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the just-released, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.