Looking for beauty on a wet bank holiday...
For Week 14 of the The Great Wake Up, our challenge was to slow down for five minutes every day and see the beauty in everything around us.
There I was on Thursday thinking, "I can't wait for the Bank Holiday weekend - we're going for long walks, tidying up the garden for spring, having a bonfire, taking a bike ride... This is going to be the perfect challenge!" And then the forecast. Really, I shouldn't be surprised; I have lived in England for twenty years now and should remember that bank holiday = rain. But hope springs eternal and I was bummed!
Chris had set a challenge, though, so I stiffened my upper lip, polished my wellies and opened my eyes.
To be fair, Friday was pretty good - some sun and not too much wind - so we shuffled plans and walked that day. I tried a new route and wasn't disappointed; it takes a certain kind of person to get excited about the structure of a dried teasel head so I've added a picture header to prove they really are gorgeous (plus, the seeds are a favourite food for goldfinches - result!). Even easier on the beauty credentials were the sun sparkles on the river, the synchronised swan preening and the cup of tea after a ten mile walk!
Saturday was more of a challenge, with the lashing wind and rain, but we decided to make a surprise visit to my mother-in-law that brought beauty even more moving for being unexpected. I have seldom seen anything more beautiful than the excited smile on her face when she opened the door to see us; it still catches me between a smile and tears to think of her joy today and left me wondering about beauty and joy. I think they are most profound when they catch us unaware...
On to Sunday, and more wind and rain. My husband was away for the afternoon for a sporting event (rather him than me) so I went to have a cup of tea with my best friend and her family (my British family). Spending time in the chaos of a family celebration reminded me of my childhood with a big, bustling family (something I still miss with a constant, nagging ache) and was a lovely way to spend the afternoon. The cherry on top of the day was a double rainbow all across the fens as the rain stopped - all the chat stopped, too, as a room full of people shared the enjoyment of that beauty - followed by the most beautiful sunrise as I drove home.
How, I hear you asking, can Monday top that? Well, I could rhapsodise about watching the garden as my husband took advantage of a break between showers to jet-wash the patio (which, to be fair, was beautiful for both the sun on the wet garden and the fresh, new look of the clean stones that is, bizarrely, a defining moment of spring for me) but I won't. The most beautiful moment of Monday did come courtesy of my husband, though. We'd had a lazy morning in bed and I was enthralled as I approached the end of a fantastic book; he was itching to get up and moving (and hungry). And that beautiful man said, "Just stay in bed and read; I'll go make breakfast and you can come down when it's ready and keep reading while you eat." That's a man who loves me - and knows me so well.
So there I was, embarrassed by the riches of beauty I'd found in a rainy weekend, when Mother Nature decided I needed one more treat. The sun was shining this morning, so I decided to start my day with a walk. And there to greet me (and the sunrise) was the Dawn Chorus. My senses have been well and truly spoiled with beauty.