On a recent walk around the pristine waters of Kintla Lake, my family and I passed an older woman and her son. They were slower than we were, and they graciously stepped aside to let us pass. Pleasantries were exchanged and I noticed the cheerful expression on the woman’s face. In that moment, as our eyes met, I was reminded to be of good cheer. Not because I felt sad, but because I was reminded that life’s challenges sometimes present us with opportunities to practice and improve our character.
I’ve been told I seem happier living in Montana. Perhaps so, as I feel a sense of finally coming home after a long absence. It’s also possible that, because of the natural beauty of my surroundings, I find it easier to connect with my spiritual side. Life here brings fulfillment and a sense of well being. Whether atop a mountain, beside a stream, or simply listening to birds chirping in my backyard, I can get lost in a daydream of wonderment. Through an openness to observe and appreciate, the simplest and seemingly ordinary become extraordinary.
Admittedly, I am not the cheerful-type and have been told from little up that I am too serious. Maybe so, because as I passed those people on the trail I thought of all of the meaningless things I give importance. I also thought of my children and the frustration I’ve felt over minor things. Then, my thoughts turned to gratitude and I began to count my blessings.
Yes, getting back to nature gives us balance and often brings us closer to our true selves. We rediscover the richness of life in a flower, a snowflake, or butterfly.
As far as Kintla Lake, it is truly magnificent. As Henry David Thoreau says in Walden, “A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”