“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein
Beauty is all around us. Sometimes it is harder to see, but even with so much ugliness in our culture right now, there is beauty. So much beauty. In fact, I believe the season we’ve been going through since mid-March is why I had the experience I did two weeks ago in northern Michigan. My father-in-law Denny has a cabin in the woods in a sleepy little town called Rosscommon. It had been several years since we went there together as a family and we all needed a little trip out of town to mix things up a bit. So, we loaded up the ‘ole Town & Country and even brought our niece Alexis and nephew Ben. 6 humans and 1 dog, sounds like the makings of a fun journey.
There are two things to do in Rosscommon – play golf at Forest Dunes and canoe or kayak the Au Sable River. The river called our name on this trip, and Saturday morning we awoke to sunshine and about 75 degrees. Kind of funny as we have a favorite song entitled “75 and Sunny,” but that’s a topic for another day. Jen dropped us off at Campbell’s Canoe Livery in downtown Rosscommon, gave me a kiss and agreed to meet at Chase Bridge in about 3 hours. The kids each shared a kayak and I got my own this time. As soon as I got situated in my kayak, I donned my big, floppy Sun Hat to protect myself from the sun and the flies, which can be a real annoyance on the river. The kids got situated quickly and off we went. Right from the first few moments of paddling down the river, I was filled with a sense of peace and calm. People often refer to their “happy place,” and I can tell you this is definitely one of mine.
We had an amazing day twisting and winding down the Au Sable, enjoying God’s creation and the nature everywhere around us. We saw several families of ducks swimming, splashing and basking in the glorious day. The temperature was absolutely perfect and even the small splashes of river water from the paddle were refreshing. An hour or so into our journey, a tiny thing happened but it made a huge impression on me. I’ve shared it with several people since we returned. I was just cruising along when all of a sudden, a dragonfly landed on my right shoulder. There were several of them out flying around along the way, so this didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was I didn’t shoo it away or freak out as I’ve had a tendency to do when any creature landed on me in the past. Today was different. I looked down at him and said, “hey little buddy, how are you doing today?” He sat there for maybe only a minute or two at the most, but the more I thought about it, the more it meant to me. One of God’s creatures, a rather small one at that, beautiful in it’s design and flight. Just hanging out with me paddling down the Au Sable river.
Where are you finding beauty these days? Where are you fixing your eyes? Where is your “happy place”? Take the time to observe and reflect on this and please share with me or someone close to you.