Earth Etude for Elul 14 – Seeing the Beauty

by Sandra Daitch

Last night I returned from a week-long trip out west with my brother and his family. My brother planned a wonderful itinerary and I was gifted with seeing and experiencing the magnificence and beauty in nature. I saw Muir Woods, Scenic Coastal Route 1 in California, theGrand Canyon, and the red hills/mountains, in Sedona.

In these places in California and Arizona, it was easy to feel the awe and joy of the universe, and now that I'm back home, in my apartment, with all my things taking up space, I feel more challenged to stay in touch with the beauty and spaciousness of the earth.

But even with the heat and high humidity, it's worth shifting some of my attention from the discomfort of the heat and the tasks that need to be done to the beauty of the earth.

Looking outside my bedroom window, on a very hot humid day, I see the familiar beautiful large tree with leaves and branches moving in a gentle wind. I've lived here for over 15 years and always thought the tree was a maple, but in looking at the leaves now, I realize it's not. I'm not sure what it is, so I'm excited to have a chance to learn something new about this familiar lovely tree friend.

I've been away and my garden has lots of weeds. I can turn away with displeasure, or I can choose to appreciate the fertility of the soil that allows those weeds to grow. Some even have flowers. What is it about weeds that gives them a bad name? They are wild, uncultivated beauty-the gifts that come without asking. Perhaps, it's just a matter of perspective?

Looking out through the window of my study, I see a number of trees and bushes in the neighborhood. I'm enjoying the variety of hues of green, and the distant tree with purple leaves-maybe a red maple? I'm also enjoying the shadows that shift under the tree closest to my view. Oh, there are also houses and several telephone wires outside the window, and I ask myself how to see the beauty in them. A thought occurs that I can use the wires to look at slices of the scenes-looking at the scene between each two wires. There are lots of options, if I pause and ask what's possible in each situation. And I actually like the colors of the white and red houses within view.

There is so much beauty and good in the world, and, I get caught up in my daily chores and issues and forget to notice and appreciate the good and beautiful that's in my life. Going on vacation to beautiful spots in nature is a reminder to RETURN (t’shuvah) to a practice of regularly taking a stance of gratitude, awe, and/or appreciation for our many gifts.


Sandra Daitch lives and works in Arlington, MA, where she has a private practice as a Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. She offers Massage classes and private instruction for individuals and couples and teaches Infant Massage. Additionally, Sandra is a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and enjoys leading laughter events in the Greater Boston area. HoHo! HaHaHa! Sandra has a small organic garden, loves to walk in all habitats of nature, and enjoys looking at the trees outside her windows. Her many other interests include doing crafts, singing, and dancing, especially English Country, Sacred Circle and Authentic Movement.

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