The Soul That Sees Beauty

As I was getting ready for the day, I put my walking shoes on. I just knew I was going to draw a creative activity that involved walking. As I’ve moved into the second half of the month, with 13 folded slips of paper left, I also knew there were still two walking activities in the pitcher. 

I drew this action:

Walk near water. 

It was a beautiful day for this activity. It’s been hot and humid this past week, but today was slightly cooler, less sticky, with a refreshing breeze. After working in the garden for a bit this morning, I headed to Wildcat Park this afternoon, to walk along Shoal Creek. 

I parked in my usual spot at the park, but instead of heading into the woods, I walked west along the paved trail that parallels the river. I do love being near water. The path was shaded and the walking easy. The breeze kept me cool and whipped my long hair into a frenzy. 

I ended up near low water bridge, where I walked this past January, at the beginning of this year of surrender. The only available picnic table was baking in the full sun, but I was okay with that, and sat with my legs stretched out, watching the river roll by. This was the spot where I took a selfie last January, as I gazed at the river, a stocking cap on my head. I snapped another pic, from the left instead of the right, my eyes once again drawn to the rippling water. In spite of the number of people playing in and near Shoal Creek, it was incredibly peaceful and beautiful there. 

It was as I was walking back the way I had come, that I realized no one else was using the trail. I could hear people splashing and laughing in the river. Families gathered around picnic tables in the designated areas. And there was the distant and incessant drone of traffic over a high bridge. But I walked alone along the river. 

My arrow of desire that I had launched drew my attention to how I felt about walking alone. I recognized the parallels between my afternoon stroll and my current journey. A few years ago I could not be alone, in any way, even though I am at heart a loner. I was too afraid. I was not present enough with myself. I felt scared and lonely if I didn’t have someone nearby. 

How differently I journey now. I am not afraid. I am very present with myself, aware of being drawn and guided, and of this delightful ongoing conversation with the Divine. If others choose to journey alongside me for a time, I am fine with that, and grateful. If I find myself walking alone, as I did today, I am fine with that, and grateful. 

During these times of solitary journeying, whether I’m walking beside the river or walking through life, I become much more attuned to what my heart and soul are experiencing and the beauty that surrounds me. I can go deep within, and then expand outward, noticing the turtles sunning on a log, the sound of birds singing in the trees, the musty scent of a fallen, decaying tree. I can sense the energy of all living things swirling around me. 

I left Wildcat Park feeling quiet joy. The water and the beauty of nature had cleansed away the busyness of the past week and allowed me a glimpse of how far I’ve journeyed in the past five years. 

At home again, as I checked my Facebook newsfeed, I saw a quote that confirmed the experience I had just had. 

“The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Those words were perfectly in alignment with my thoughts as I walked along the river. May sometimes walk alone…may sometimes walk with others, and either is fine. I’m surrendered to being open…and attached to nothing.