So there I was in my kitchen at the end of an average day, knife in hand and mind focused on the task in front of me. It was a pleasant place to be, at least on that particular afternoon, with oven-warmth relaxing my shoulders and the last streaky bits of sunlight scratching at the windowsill.
Soon the whole world was reduced to the rhythmic sound of chopping, the hum/hiss of the gas oven pre-heating, the last of the fall leaves crackling along the sidewalk below. The orange squash, cut open and sticky, lay next to a turquoise-colored bowl overflowing with a tangle of its strings and seeds. There was a touch of sweat on my brow and my belly rumbled a little, just on the verge of hunger.
It's hard to explain just how perfect this small moment of attention and beauty was. I think the best way to describe it is that there was no desire for things to be different, no wanting for anything, no sense of lack. Just a tiny bit of rumbling in the belly which was soon to be filled and an eyeful of beautiful squash in the tumbling half-light of a day almost over.
These are the moments to pay attention to, these everyday, nothing-special moments where it is possible for a simple but powerful beauty to step forward. Immediate and fleeting, it is not the kind of beauty that can be purchased or engineered or corralled into a picture frame. It can't be created or manipulated, so the trick, if there is one, is to just pay attention.
The beauty is already there; the only effort needed is to notice it. Just a quiet moment of attention and appreciation, and the simple, everyday, and utterly extraordinary song of being alive.
(Image: Dana Velden)