December 22, 2021

Today I Stopped and Looked Around

I was up early this morning to take my son to nursery. After I’d cleaned our teeth and got us dressed and he had (almost) finished playing with a pair of plastic plates from his toy kitchen, we stepped outside to be greeted by a beautiful deep red glow hitting the underside of the clouds from the sun laying just below the horizon to the South-East. To the North-West, the almost full moon, now waning, glowed against the rich blue-grey sky. I pointed it out to him, and he returned a smile.

I made the two-mile drive to his nursery in silence, looking at the leafless winter trees poking out from the frozen fields along the way.

After returning home alone listening to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, I sat on the concrete ledge that runs along our driveway and watched the sun rise in a blaze of glory over the hill ridge, maybe a kilometre away. The stone was cold, but I didn’t mind. I had a thick parka on, and I couldn’t have felt any colder than the band of horses that were slowly mooching about at the top of that hill.

I watched the silhouettes of those horses and the birds that occasionally flew by, stark against the sky, now turning orange, and I listened to the dawn chorus. The dog walkers weren’t out yet, and the work traffic was nowhere in earshot, so the only sound was the birds, mainly the chuntering of sparrows. Somewhere, probably down by the reed pond, a goose honked. Steam rose from a vent in the side of a neighbouring house.

The sky was getting lighter now. The orange cast was fading, but its warm glow was still a comforting contrast to the unspoilt, frosted ground all around me. I sipped on a flask of tea and enjoyed a peaceful moment alone, soaking in the quiet as the sun appeared above the ridge.

Then I heard a shovel scraping the ground nearby. Dogs began barking in the distance. The walkers were now out. The rich colours were receding from the sky, and the moon had disappeared behind a formless grey cloud.

Boy, this world we live in is beautiful, but people bring a madness to it. And it’s easy to get caught up in the madness and forget about the beauty that surrounds us. It’s simple enough to step outside of the craziness and remind ourselves of the beauty, but sometimes it’s not easy.

As the famous line from Ferriss Bueller’s Day Off goes, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.”

Today I stopped and looked around, and it was magical. I must remember to do this more often. And I must teach my son to avoid getting caught up in the madness and do the same.

Nottingham, UK. Weds 22nd December, 2021.