There are some places in the world I’ve lived and I wouldn’t want to live there again. There are other places I’ve visited and I don’t know how people can live there. I now live in Georgia and every day I wake up I’m grateful. I can’t help but feel that way, with the view from my bedroom.
My former town in Maine is home to the state’s busiest intersection, designated by the Department of Transportation as a Level F (failed) because of the gridlock and danger. My office was in the middle of all that noise and congestion. If I kept the window open, I couldn’t hear the person on the other end of the phone. The trucks rumbling by shook the walls and no picture would hang straight. Drywall dust covered my desk in a fine silt. The noise and un-pretty sights wear you down, not to mention the sirens the almost daily fender benders caused.
A few years ago I traveled to Quito, Ecuador. The city was noisy, polluted, and suffered from unbelievable traffic. One day, as we were driving to another town, we passed a native Indian family. They had made their home on the median strip. A small fire was burning and the children were sitting cross legged, watching their mom sell mangoes to the vehicles caught in the gridlock. Their eyes caught mine as the car inched by, their eyes dully staring even as their fingers held a grimy teddy bear and a blanket.
I moved here, to a second floor apartment, and the windows opposite my bed face rolling hills covered with horse pastures. At dawn, the pink eastern sky mirrors the pink clay of the ground under the horses’ feet. Feeling frisky in the morning air, the horses cavort, nuzzling each other, running, raising on back legs, front legs wheeling in the air. The moon sets opposite, illuminating the light frost and making the grass sparkle brightly. I never hear a siren, instead, birdsong wafts through my window.
When I get up, that’s what see. Every day, I can’t help but stop and be stunned by the beauty. Standing in front of the window, I look out and I’m always humbled by the fact that I can live among such magnificence. I breathe in, taking a few moments to absorb the colors, the sounds, around me. It helps to stop for a minute, and take the time. Creating a peaceful interlude with gratitude at its center grounds me for the rest of the day. It’s a long way from the unlivable median strip in Quito to the rolling hills of Georgia. No matter how rushed I feel, I take the time to appreciate the beauty around me, because it’s not everywhere, and it’s the beautiful moments I want to remember at the end, and my reaction to them.