In Search of Beauty Laid Bare (Part Three)

The fullness of Joy is to behold God in everything.

Julian of Norwich

Our Boundary Waters canoe trip this summer challenged me, scared me, and taught me things about myself. . . but most importantly it reminded me–once again–to just look around and notice.

I went on this trip hoping to see beauty laid bare, to be inspired by nature and to re-connect with some dear friends. All of these things happened. My gratitude list on this trip is long:

  • Lily pads
  • Dragonflies
  • Little frogs
  • Giggling until my sides hurt
  • The feel of steering with a partner
  • Setting up camp as a cooperative group
  • Campfire food
  • The feel of tennis shoes after wearing wet Chacos all day.

In the wilderness it’s easy to look around and have gratitude with so many distractions pulled back. The benefits of forest bathing are real, and something magical always catches me and brings me home no matter how far off course I’ve gotten.

The challenge of these trips is to take these Third Day Lyrics to heart, “When I climb down the mountain, and get back to my life, I won’t settle for ordinary things. . .”

So once again I want to look around at my own work-a-day life with a new set of eyes. There is NEW every day. What if we dare to notice the things, to make the gratitude list that re-orients our gaze, to get in the rhythm of looking for good and not just the bad? Again and again I see beauty laid bare not only on epic trips, but in the most ordinary of places. What if all of this isn’t so ordinary after all?

Read on to Part Four.

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