It's amazing, after living in a small town, what your new definition of "hustle and bustle" can become. I would probably consider my town a "burg". A handful of people live here. Nothing really happens. There is no rush hour, no traffic lights, and the only places open after 7 p.m. are the bars on Main Street. So my town snoozes away, sleepily closing it's eyelids to the hurried antics of other towns hundreds of miles away.
Despite the constant calm, I just today noticed a sharp contrast when Lewis and I walked up the hill outside our town and into the forest. It was in the forest that my ears noticed the absence of the noise I never notice constantly occurring down below in town. Up here I could only hear a slight breeze in the pines, the sound of last fall's leaves crunching beneath my feet.
Lewis and I took a break on the side of a hill, sitting in the warm sun. (Well, okay, I was sitting in the warm sun and Lewis was trying to contort his body in such a way as to fit every last square inch of himself into the shade beam created by a tree trunk, but the point is that we were resting.)
As I was sitting there, I noticed a little snake writhing around in the leaves. I am by no means a reptile fan, and of all the wildlife I could have viewed during that moment, a little snake would be last on my list. Actually, a large snake would be last on my list. (Imagine that, a 40 foot python in the foothills surrounding my small town. Now THAT would be something). The point is, I saw wildlife, creepy as it may be. Wildlife I would have missed had I just kept walking like I do when I'm in town.
My town is filled with deer. Deer in the streets, deer in the yards, deer eating people's gardens. I see and walk by deer on a daily basis. But I do not really stop to look at them. I am usually on my way somewhere, and the deer are so prevalent that I just walk right by them. I think if I had seen a deer in the forest earlier today though, I would have stopped and really appreciated it for the beautiful creation that it is. Not just a pest plucking the heads off of tender new garden shoots, it's liquid eyes and athletic movements attest of an animal built for speed, grace, and intelligence.
So I'm grateful today to have taken a step outside of whatever noise my sleepy burg distracts me with. With the promise of spring right around the corner, it is good to be seeing again with new eyes.