You’d think that living in the same town you’re whole life, you’d know it pretty much inside and out. You’d know the people, the places, and virtually every aspect of your home. But what makes life so deceiving—and beautiful—is that there is always something we don’t know, places we have yet to explore, and hidden treasures right in front of our eyes. Sometimes, it takes a matter of slowing down and widening our perspective to see beyond what we are accustomed to, and discover gems in life that we were oblivious to before.
It is one of those hidden treasures that I found yesterday, while, ironically, looking for a fresh and inspiring place to sit down with my computer and (what else) draft some blog posts. I woke up feeling adventurous, excited to conquer my day and inspired to write down my thoughts. Mother Nature only encouraged me further, as it was an absolutely gorgeous morning—the sun was shining already, and the sky was an endless bright blue sprinkled with the occasional fluffy white cloud. On any other day, I would have grabbed a huge cup of coffee and settled down in my desk chair in my room with the window open behind me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful in my room in this weather too, but that doesn’t hold a candle to the cleansing effect of a solid, outdoors adventure. And I was long overdue for one.
Now, I live in a suburb, not a wide open field of corn. BUT, I’m lucky enough to be next to a wide open field of corn. And a small pond. Corn and Pond were calling, so I pulled on my adventure pants and set off to work in the sunlight. I actually had a spot in mind where I was planning to go—a little alcove off the main loop trail of the pond with a nice, domestic, picnic table and calm atmosphere. But when I arrived, Rowena the Explorer decided that wasn’t enough—she wanted to find somewhere new. But how could there be somewhere new when I’d been living near this pond for my whole life?
The real question I should have been asking, though, is how couldn’t there be something new?
It is so easy in our busy lives of work, school friends, family, you-name-it to fall into the trap of routine and pattern. When everything else seems to be moving around you, you can rely on your familiarity in your routine to counterbalance that email that needs to be sent, dinner than should be made, homework assignments to be completed, or show to record On Demand. When you need answers, the solution is there. So why change it and make your life more difficult? Why risk it? Well, I can answer that with one simple statement: because there is always something new to be discovered and learned. Always. Life guarantees it.
Back to yesterday. Yesterday, I trusted life. I listened to that guarantee of discovery and instead of following what I would have done usually, I chose differently. The result was spectacular. When I arrived at the pond, I parked where I normally would and entered the main loop trail with all intentions of heading to the nice, sturdy picnic table. But along the way, I began to take in the world around me. I let myself relax, glancing side to side at the trees, the pond, and up at the sky. That’s when I saw it: a tiny little-trampled path, a few feet off the main trail. On impulse, I decided to explore it—take a hiatus from the path of habit, if you will.
It took me down a few natural steps—you know the kind. The twisting roots of trees banked along a body of water that form a steadily progressive downhill trail, leading you to the water’s edge. At the end of the small incline, I found that there was a beach: a small alcove about 100 square feet, leading right up to the gentle water’s lapping edge.
It was beautiful and amazing, because it was so serene and peaceful. No picnic in sight, but also no main path in sight, no noisy joggers behind me, and, most of all, it carried with it an aura of secrecy. This was a spot that felt designed for me. It was as if Mother Nature woke up that morning and planted it there for me to discover, and to appreciate. Life was hitting me from all sides, from the lilac flower close to the chair I set up to the sound of the barely moving lake to the humid heat rising from the ground below me. This was special: it was natural, beautiful, and undoubtedly new.
In the words of Robert Frost, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the path less traveled by.” Yesterday, I did the same. I broke from routine and challenged myself to be open to discovery. I must say, it paid off. My little adventure in my own backyard led me to find a new hidden spot to work and enjoy nature in the quiet and serene solitude that, as humans, we both need and crave.
So today, I challenge you to do what I did: find a hidden treasure that you were oblivious to before. Open your eyes just a little bit wider, take the sun, the light, the stars, the colors, and the hues of life in. Take a path less traveled by, even if it’s just a tiny trampled one off to the side of the main road. I promise, there is something new out there for you to discover. Pull on those adventure boots, toss that map aside, and be a scavenger of live, surviving on the endless possibility of discovery.
Comment your thoughts! Is there a place you love to go that feels like it’s “yours?” Have you ever been an adventurer in your own backyard or town?