At Your Leisure

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Lately I don’t have much to say. You know reader; the graduate life is not that fancy. I get up, I get ready, go to class, go to work (sometimes reversed), I head back and that’s that. One can get overwhelmed pretty easy and life can lose meaning when you have 5 papers due on the same day. But let me tell you of a great piece of advice a professor once told me.

Back in undergrad I had a passion for writing and literature. I adopted a second major just to nurture that dream. And never have I ever regretted such a sacrifice. I may not be in an English Lit track but I am living that which I read and write.

I had many good professors, and some who were just plain horrible. However, there was this one professor who fed my love for American Literature like no other.  He wasn’t keen on projects and his exams were brutal but he had a love for close reading, history and storytelling. I remember we would get on these long tangent-like conversations about the mind and reality; but what I liked the most was how he talked about nature.

When Emerson’s work would make its way into class discussion you could hear the passion in his voice. How he talked about the Oversoul, and the Sublime. How there was no greater force than that of Mother Nature and her awe-inducing power.

One day he stopped mid lecture and looked on with silent inspiration. He asked us, “when was the last time you saw the sun?”

We stared back, incredulous. I mean, look outside, it’s sunny.

He smiled and said, “I know what you’re thinking and that’s not what I meant. You know it’s sunny. You see the light and the shadows cast from it. But have you seen the sun? Are you conscious of the beauty of the sunrise and how the sky looks at the start, mid day and at night?”

And then it struck me. He wasn’t talking about a tangible thing; he was asking us if we were aware of nature and its beauty. He wanted to know if we took the time to look up and admire the clouds. He was asking us if we appreciated nature for all its gifts and wonders.

After that day I walked with leisure, no matter how late I was. I took my time to marvel at the leaves, the trees and the clouds as I made my way to my house. And that one change made all the difference in my days.

To look upon such a creation I found all the inspiration I ever needed. From the slow brush stroked clouds, to the soft hum of the wind. And that reader is what I want to share.

Life as a graduate student has no flare and no real time to relax. Yet, on my 25 minute walk to campus, I take time to look at what surrounds me; I become aware. I am not just a student making my way to class; I am an explorer gazing upon life. I am a poet looking for new words; a painter looking for a new model and nature provides all those things when I take time to appreciate it.

So I invite you, reader, to slow down and take the time to look up and around. Take notice in how the leaves are turning. Have you ever noticed the different colors? Take notice on the little rocks on your way. Have you ever seen a wooly worm running out of your way? Take notice on the wind in your face. Have you ever noticed how it tickles your scalp?

All these little things, that are so much more than just little, can put a smile on your face and make a brighter day.

Signing off, TWS

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