click on photo for larger-than-life detail
I find lately that when I make a decision to do something thoughtfully, deliberately, and simply, I am rewarded in unexpected and wonderful ways.
Yesterday it was a walk at lunch time. It was 95 degrees outside, with high humidity, and I could have easily decided to stay indoors in the air conditioning, or hopped in my car to drive to the store to get something to drink. (I am usually more prepared than I was yesterday, bringing drinks and lunch from home.) But I thought a little exercise and fresh air, no matter how hot, would be good for my sluggish, unmotivated state of mind and body.
Stepping out felt like plunging into a hot tub. I walked slowly, stretching muscles and joints stiff from sitting too long. I would not have wanted to go anywhere further than the three blocks to the store where I purchased an iced tea and a diet soda. I drank the iced tea on the walk back, its unsweetened slightly bitter coolness refreshing. A couple of older women in a black Cadillac stopped and asked me directions to a popular restaurant out by the freeway. How odd, I thought, usually out-of-towners come via the freeway and think the restaurant is the town.
I walked on with my eyes scanning the ground ahead of me, a habit I picked up as a child when I would walk gravel roads looking for agates or other interesting stones. Recent rains had washed the layer of dust from stones in the new gravel that was recently spread on the parking lot at work. A reddish stone caught my eye, but I did not stop at first. I walked a few steps, then decided to back up and take a look. There at my feet, half buried in the gravel, was a finely red and white banded Lake Superior agate, one of the nicer ones I've found. A reward for the simple act of walking, the deliberate choice to walk, and the thoughtful state I find myself slipping into when I walk.
The life we are gradually building for ourselves on the land is starting to reveal its rewards. It is often easy to slip into the mindset that things are not happening here as quickly as we would like, and we should pursue higher-paying opportunities elsewhere temporarily to save up enough to return and pick up where we left off. We have come dangerously close to actually doing so in the past, but we were fooling ourselves. We could have never come back. So we have persevered, learned patience, grown roots, made friends. The rewards are many, large and small, seen and unseen.
Update: Camera back up and running, the photo now shows a few of the agates I have been personally rewarded with, including the one from this post, lower right.