Slow Down

It’s a rather typical spring day in the Midwest. The sun is out and it appears deceptively warm. It’s the kind of day that you want to step out without the much needed jacket in this part of the US. The wind however is blowing making it feel much cooler.
My kids and I want to go to the “lake”, a small made lake in our neighbor hood, for a “treasure hunt”, what an adult would call a nature walk. It’s a quiet Sunday, the neighbors are perhaps at church or having dropped of the kids at grandparents house are out at the mall.
My almost 8 and 4 year old are armed with buckets to save the “treasures’ in. It is serene and relaxing by the lake. Ducks and geese are making haphazard tangents, some novice fishermen trying their luck. Being in touch with nature feels so good.
My kids scan the shrubs and brush looking for treasures.
My son screams with excitement, and he has found a bottle cap. Nothing fancy, just a white plastic bottle cap. My daughter now gets more vigilant.
We see the remains of the “controlled burn” of the brush around the lake. Yes any uncontrolled unhampered growth is a lot of trouble, who knows more than a cancer survivor.
I hear my daughter celebrating a beautiful rock she found. At 4, everything is amazing and full of wonder. Rocks, pebbles, odd shaped stones are all treasures. Blessed is a life that sees stones as valuable and this innocence is so precious.
Before cancer, I may have spent this Sunday obsessing about what to cook, mulling over what summer camps to sign up for and organizing the house but post cancer I am out walking with my kids looking for treasures. I realize that they are learning with me to embrace nature and appreciate life. It makes me smile.
They aren’t at Kumon or at a gymnastics class or learning some craft but they are learning a skill, which we adults sign up for in retreats, letting go and relaxing, finding pleasure in everyday things that are all around us.
My daughter spots a turtle and there is sheer excitement in her voice. It’s a small turtle sitting on a branch sprouting out from the lake.
By now their buckets have an unidentifiable shiny object, a half burnt Sippy cup, a ball and something they are calling a “fishing thingy”.
A mom is pedaling with her son on their bikes. We point out the turtle to them.
She remarks ” Look (son) we are going so fast , we are missing out on all the good stuff!”
I agree. Cancer has slowed me down but the slowing down is not so bad either.

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