Oh My Darling Days

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Mindful Field Notes is an online journal by Arbor Lee | Oh My Darling Days. 

Mindful Field Notes Journal

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Detours of Delight

The air has been mucky, polluted with winter inversion, so I haven't gone out for my daily walks. I miss the movement, the communion with nature. I miss fresh air and a view of the sky. Instead, I see a haze of grey that appears as fog in the morning and remains all day. 

I stepped outside this morning to empty the trash after a full day of staying inside. Something at the edge of the car door caught my eye. I dropped the garbage into the can and as I returned towards the door, I paused and looked again. A tiny feather, edged with black was resting on the concrete. I learned years ago about feathers floating in and how their whispers are heard at our finger tips. So I picked it up and listened.

For the longest time, feathers have whispered messages of hope. Tiny reminders that possibility lives in uncertainty.  "Be light and drift. Ride the wind. You always land where you need to be."  But this time, this wee chickadee tail feather had something new to say— Delight in the Detours

I gave this some consideration and realized I needed this message to reframe the way I experience the winter inversion. I can feel blocked by the polluted air and remain holed up in my house all winter or I can get creative about how I access nature and clean air. Unpredictable air quality becomes an invitation to shift my routine— to adventure out into the mountains where the air is clear and clean. It is a motivating reminder to share rides, to drive less, to continue to invest in healthier energy options, and actively support legislation that prioritizes open land and protections for our environment. The detour of polluted air becomes an invitation to delight in actions that make a difference and to broaden my sense of adventure.

I am curious about other ways this message might manifest in my life and also be of benefit to all of us. Perhaps you already know the importance of foraging for beauty and goodness amidst the tumult of big life noise. Those small discoveries of magic and wonder are easily detours of delight. They have become a valued part of my daily rhythm. But what about those moments when plans go awry and disappointment tries to set in and take hold? What if we explore those detours as opportunities to uncover what else is possible rather than feeling defeated by unmet expectations? Is it possible to uncover delight in those moments? Even considering that option fills me with a sense of spacious hope. It opens the door to resilience, allowing us to access our ability to be flexible and creative when things don't go as planned. Delighting in the detours offers a quality of choice in how we experience life between the unknowns. 

As this intense and volatile year comes to an end, I am taking this invitation with me and would love your company. We can look for ways to greet the unplanned moments and daily uncertainty with curiosity and a sense of exploration. We can forage for beauty and wonder amidst the winter inversion and offer praise for any glimmers of light in the darker layers of political and social chaos. We may even find ourselves lighting those lamps.  And feathers, let's watch for feathers— those tiny, sacred reminders of hopeful possibility and the choice to delight in the detours of life. Again and again.