Here and now

The problem with living in a downstairs flat is that there is no upstairs. This may sound obvious, but when you have lived in a house almost all your life, with an upstairs, you tend to forget. Many times I have grabbed my camera to head for the upstairs windows, only to realise that the couple who life up there might, possibly, object to me barging in unannounced every sunset and dawn.

My home is on a roughly east-west axis. Just sufficiently ‘off’ to mean that in summer, I can watch the sun rise from my pillow without needing to move. In winter I see the dawn through the garden doors that are, inevitably, already open for the dog.

Sunsets are a bit more problematic. The curve of the houses in my street and the rooftops opposite my kitchen window block most of my view. I get only the spreading colours as the light fades… which is where the upstairs would have come in handy. A little more height and I could see so much.

Yet, as I stood on the doorstep tonight, watching vivid pink and gold soften the sky, I realised how lucky I am to be able to watch the day begin and end, in glowing colours or beneath a pall of roiling clouds,  every single day. City dwellers seldom see much of the skyline and, when work takes me early into town, I miss the dawn as it hides behind the rooftops.

It may be natural to wish for things that are seen, but just out of reach or it may be the way we are conditioned by our society from the earliest age to aspire to ‘something more’. ‘The grass is always greener’ and all that…  But all that happens is that in looking beyond what is to what could be, we shift our focus away from the moment in which we stand and fail to appreciate what it offers. Not only that, but we create dissatisfaction for ourselves, a pressure for change for the sake of change and the stress of always chasing an illusive and elusive ‘something’ that we hope will be better than what we have. How often do we truly look at what we have in gratitude, not with some indefinable yearning?

Does it really matter that I see ‘only’ a sky suffused with colour and not the whole sunset? I could change that… a walk to the fields would give me an unobscured view, but it would take time and effort… a commitment and an active choice. Wishing alone will not get me from here to there… but I need do nothing at all to be here and now.

Every day is different, every dawn and dusk offers new wonders… and it does not matter at all where I am or where I stand. It matters only that I look up and see it as it happens.

35 thoughts on “Here and now

  1. Nature is the epitome of beauty, and it changes every day. It is humbling. You are right; you don’t have to see it all. The magnificence that is there every day is more than enough.

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  2. Gorgeous photos accent your always lovely wordage – and a wonderful reminder to BE HERE NOW. Thanks for sending me off to bed with a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is so much truth in this Sue, not only as you say missing the whole sunset we often spend our entire lives chasing after the elusive! We all need to stop and appreciate the now. We are all guilty of wishing our lives away. Chasing the elusive butterfly of life instead of appreciating what we really have.
    Glorious photos 💜

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  4. Lovely reminder of the power of mindfulness and gratitude, Sue. It makes me think about my youth – the times I’d searched for the best vista and while taking strides to attain it, missed much of the beauty along the path. Have a glorious day of presence. ❤

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  5. We have so many trees here that’s it’s impossible to see either sunrise or sunset, except in the depths of winter. Can’t see either from our bedroom window, but I do like to see the light of the sunrise in the trees in the winter. I’d have to drive to find an open view – the best would be from the sixth (!) floor of the building where I used to teach. Lovely words as usual – I’ve never thought about the drawback to not having a second floor!

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  6. Your lovely photos compliment your words PERFECTLY. We too, have to make an effort to see the sunset. The sunrise is no problem, but we have to step out to the street and move beyond the houses to see the sunset. But, when we do, we are well rewarded. Our world gives us unlimited beauty if we only take the time to stop and smell the roses.
    We are still adjusting to not having an upstairs or a basement. The upside is that we are much smaller and I have less to clean.

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