I was moving along the path, winding around trees and bushes that scientifically-speaking were completely different but looked all various forms of the same. I was moving along the narrow pavement haphazardly wondering if I would suddenly be met with a great Instagram capture. I could quite easily see the extent of the winding path and how I’d end up a mere 3 meters from where I had entered. But I took the path anyway, shuffling my feet along, admiring the way my red Keds looked with the criss-cross patterns of the leaves’ shadows.
Just like I knew I would, I popped out 3 meters away from where I started. I was neither disappointed nor pleased. My mind had already spotted the next little grove across the way and was thinking about what images I could find in there. Shuffling around once more. I actually spent a good two hours at this kind of meandering around with only the plants and the sun to keep me company.
Yet, somewhere between the ferns and the old tropical broad-leaf plants (as I said, I’m really no botanist, just an admirer of nature), I found a sliver of glee. For absolutely no reason. I hadn’t stumbled upon a gold mine of photographic images or complex settings to get lost within. I was simply joyous.
I haven’t been able to shake it. It’s there constantly. I find it in the cracks of the pavement, the drum of the rain, the jolts of the bus, and the buzz of making plans. I can’t quite explain it but this hum of vibrancy is still lingering all around me.
It’s like being sixteen again and walking through your neighborhood at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. It’s just a feel good, can’t pin it down energy that puts everything else into a clearer perspective.
I wrote recently about change and finding value. What if in the wintertime, we embrace and ready ourselves for what is comfortable and familiar. We long for down home and settled. As if, after the summer heat, we think what we truly need are the winter blues to mellow and smooth us out. To wrap ourselves up in a blanket cocoon and recover, only later to reemerge.
But what if we only find that we’ve become recluse these past months, dreary and closed off to what we actually needed. In an effort to re-invigorate ourselves, we cut ourselves off from our life sources.
Spring then is our reconnection, my awakening. It’s not always pretty and sometimes it leaves uncontrollable bouts of giddy in its wake, but it is the forging of old connections into new paths. It’s a reminder that next year, I ought not shut myself off completely from the relationships around me: with people, with nature, with myself.
Of course, summer heat in all its intensity will come again and once again I will struggle with the choice. But maybe next year will be different. Maybe next year, I will have provided myself the understanding and the process of navigating the vast field of engagement. Maybe next year, I will become more seasoned in riding the balance of extrovert and introvert: seasonally, seasoned.
I left the botanical gardens that day with over 200 iPhone images. Most were nothing special at all: plants upon plants upon plants. I have yet to delete most of them, though, because when I look at the sea of indistinguishable green, I see the fruits of fulfillment.