My daughter and I spent a beautiful afternoon driving and hiking through Brown County National Forest. We have had a ‘girls weekend’ together in Brown County, Indiana for the last two years, and this forest is always a great part of our day.
We noticed a hiking trail that wound around a lake, and decided to give it a try. I think my daughter is part mountain goat, she had no problems at all. But her elderly mother had to keep her eyes on the ground. I had to look out for the snaking tree roots, uneven ground and the thin wooden stairs we had to climb.
I felt a little sorry for her, having to keep a slower pace. But, if I hadn’t been looking down, I would have missed this little fella.
He was scooting across a wooden bridge…it seems like forest bugs are always in a hurry. Fortunately for me, top speed for a caterpillar is pretty slow, so I waited until he got to the leaf to take a photo. This guy had a full, wooly coat along with an agenda. He had places to go and people to see.
This caterpillar isn’t covering himself with thick wool for a balmy summer day. He knows that cold and snow are on the horizon, so his body is getting its protection ready. Watching this little fur ball, I asked myself, “How ready I am for any challenges that may be ahead?”
While it’s natural to think about getting ready for the future, I decided to think about a more immediate timeline. How ready am I for next Wednesday? Or tomorrow? Or even five minutes from now? Life moves along in inches, minute by minute. Preparing for any future problems is a good thing, but I can’t ignore the rhythm of life in the right here and right now.
Being prepared to notice the beauty of the moment takes a real act of will. Instead of driving around with visions of grocery lists and kids to pick up and deliver, maybe I can prepare myself to look around a little. Notice the changing leaves, the brilliant blue sky, and the squirrels dancing across the lawns and fields.
Instead of racing to the checkout line, I’d see the worried faces and the harried parents. Letting them go in front of me, I could offer a smile.
I know I’ll need a ‘pep talk’. I don’t always automatically go out of my way to really see and hear the beauty around me, or notice the pressing needs of my neighbors. But preparation is the key to any success, and I want to be a ready for what’s ahead.
So thank you my little furry friend. You remind me to be prepared, to have the right frame of mind from the moment I start my day. Not just for the future mega snow storms in my life. Nah. Just being ready for the next five minutes will be a victory.
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