I absorb everything around me. I catch every detail, every nuance. I feel it, with every sense that I have.
Sometimes good, sometimes bad. But what I am is an empath. (Read about that here.)
Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by all the details that swirl around in my head and have found various activities that allow me to escape for awhile.
Reading. Writing. Exercise.
Exercise is the best. It’s mind clearing and soul cleansing.
I like to ride my bike along a green way that’s flanked by tall trees on either side. There’s a river about 2 miles in and it weaves in and out of a golf course. It is absolutely beautiful and is one of the only paths I ride or run that I don’t need earbuds or music. There is nothing other than the sound of water, bugs and the rustling in the trees of wildlife and the wind as it knocks down leaves. I get lost in the whir of my wheels and my breathing and for that hour or so, I am completely absorbed in my surroundings and nothing else.
The days I can push all thoughts out of my head and just breathe, those are the best days.
One afternoon I left home fairly late in the day for me- it was pushing the upper 80’s and pretty humid. I began questioning my choice after about 10 minutes when I was already drenched in sweat and hadn’t brought any water with me.
Once I hit the shady entrance of the green way, it didn’t matter. Somehow, even though it was still super hot outside, the trees had begun dropping their leaves and they littered the path in front of me.
Yard by yard as my wheels rolled over the leaves, I heard the satisfying crunch of the dead leaves underneath me.
It was akin to being a little kid with a huge pile of leaves you got to jump into, except I had a seemingly infinite path ahead of me, churning the leaves beneath me.
I just tucked my head down and kept moving forward.
There’s a section on the path that dips low and there were several layers of leaves, congregating together as if some larger body of water brought them all to the same valley, and all of them slightly damp from the rain the day before.
When I was coasting down that turn, the scent overtook me. Earth, leaves, trees, day old rain drenched foliage. It was magical. If I could have bottled it, I would have. It would make the most divine, perfectly fall candle.
I slowed down and took deep breaths in and out as I pedaled forward.
In an instant, it was gone.
I had ridden through the gorgeous fall smell and was back to the almost stiflingly warm breeze as my wheels still rolled forward.
Miles and miles behind me, I made it back home and exclaimed how magical the ride had been. Hot, but magical.
A few days later, I woke up early excited to ride the same route and was almost giddy looking forward to the crunchy leaves and the heavenly scent of my favorite little dip in the path.
I cruised through the entryway and crunched my way down the paved trail with my heart pumping, my legs starting to burn and before long, I saw the stretch I was so excited about.
I breathed in deeply, really focused on the way the leaves felt under my wheels and anticipated the earthy, spicy scent that was bringing me back.
Except it wasn’t there.
It was the same stretch of path, the leaves were still there, but they had dried up a little bit. I could still hear the crunch, the bugs chirping, the river bubbling slightly in the distance, but the glorious fall scent was gone.
Was it too dry? Was it too early in the day? What had changed in just a few days that took away my favorite part of this path?
I realized that the moment in time wasn’t about losing the scent, losing what I loved about this path, it was a reminder to appreciate it. To appreciate the fact I got to experience it in the first place!
I realized that I’m glad I take it all in. I’m lucky to be aware of the moment and having soaked up every single drop of what was going on around me.
What if I hadn’t noticed the sound, the smell, the feeling of the damp air as I rolled past? I would have missed out on something I now look back on as ‘glorious’.
Those glorious moments can come often in life, but do we know they’re glorious if we aren’t paying attention?
I crave more glorious.
I’m not sure if the path will ever smell the same to me, but I will keep anticipating something new to be awed by.
I know I will continue to look for and appreciate all that is glorious.