It was a hard week. You know what I mean. The kind when so much happens you feel like you’ve lived a whole month in just a few days. Maybe you are blind-sided, knocked flat, speechless. Or all of the above. That’s how I felt. I could think of little else.
On that particular day, the gray clouds above made the sky as overcast as my mood and hinted at a possible spring shower. But oblivious to the weather, our rusty red Lab mix, Owen, whined long enough to succeed in rounding us up for an afternoon walk.
My heart heavy, I held onto the leash and pretended that I, not Owen, controlled our pace. My husband and I stayed quiet as we walked, each of us lost in our own thoughts and concerns.
When we came to the stop sign, we turned right, paused at Owen’s favorite bush, and went up the hill. Ahead of us, at the end of the street, we saw a profusion of pink, cottony blossoms. Ah yes! The old cherry tree—one of my favorites in the whole neighborhood. And today it stood tall in its full spring glory.
Perfectly shaped and completely covered with blooms on every branch, it grabbed my attention and held it all the way up the street.
When we got to the tree, my husband took the leash while I took photos, standing over the low-hanging branches and then under the higher ones for different angles. A low, resonant buzz filled the air, so I looked more closely: several bumble bees hovered in front of blossoms for just a few seconds before moving on to others. No doubt dozens of their comrades also zigged and zagged high in the tree above me.
While I feasted on the beauty of the blossoms, the bees feasted on the pollen.
Regardless of how you feel about a flying insect with a stinger, without bees to spreading pollen, we wouldn’t have flowers. And what a tremendous loss that would be.
Seeing bees feeding on pollen and nectar makes me think about those times when a sight or sound makes me stop and take in its beauty. Those moments when I am filled with wonder at what is before me: a crashing waterfall, a snow-covered mountain, my friends’ hillside view in Italy. I want to drink it in, like life-giving nectar.
Have you ever felt that way?
C.S. Lewis did. He wrote this in his essay, The Weight of Glory: “We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”
For me, the experience of beauty brings joy and delight, simply because it exists and I am, in that moment, able to observe and enjoy it. But it also stirs echoes of goodness and a longing and desire to be brought closer to the original Beauty.
There’s something transcendent about beauty, some quality of the sacred, that stirs our hearts and draws us, whether to the beach, the mountains, the forest, even our own neighborhood.
Those moments remind me that in a world where beauty exists, nothing is ordinary.
I know that such a moment is gone too soon, so I stop and pay attention—to the sights, sounds, and smells around me.
I drink it in. Just like the humble bumble.
Freelance writer and speaker LeAnne Martin looks for the beauty around us and encourages others to do the same. Through her words and pictures, she shares glimpses of beauty in nature, the arts, and the unexpected on her blog,Glimsen. Sign up to receive her weekly posts, and you’ll get a free gift of beauty in your inbox. You can also connect with LeAnne on Facebook and Instagram. LeAnne lives with her husband and dog in a wooded neighborhood outside Atlanta and looks forward to FaceTiming her daughter in college.