How Do You See The World?

“I love the way you see the world.”

His words took me by surprise. I leaned back in my seat and looked over at him.

“What do you mean?”

“You have a way of looking at things that displays your enthusiasm for all the world to see. Yet, you have no idea because you’re so lost in the moment.”

I had been leaning forward, nose pressed to the airplane window just a few moments prior to his statement. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Thirty-five thousand feet in the air between Seattle and Sacramento, I had the best aerial view of Mount Shasta. Its white-capped beauty took my breath away and instantly brought to mind a quote by American poet, Theodore Roethke.

“Over every mountain is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.”

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I immediately grabbed my phone to capture the moment, then promptly nudged my husband and called to my two kids across the aisle to take a look. I didn’t want them to miss it. It was then it hit me. I had done this several times throughout the week – nudging, calling out to them, practically dragging them places – all because I didn’t want them to miss something. I had felt like a nag, forcing family fun and live in the moment opportunities.

All the while, I would say annoying things like…

“We may never have this opportunity again.”

or

“Do you want to look back and regret not seeing this beauty because you let a little rain stop you?”

I tried to transfer my excitement unto them through osmosis or sheer force, whatever it took. Sometimes, I just went forward with every intention of taking in the landscape or immersing myself in the experience without them. Each time, I was pleasantly (and silently) surprised they followed.

At the top of the Space Needle in Seattle, rain pelted our faces as we stood overlooking the incredible night sky with its tiny lights shining through the sheets of rain as though daring us to try to ignore their sparkle. I had gone back out after my family had run in out of the rain. I took several photos before going back inside to encourage them to come out once more.

“You guys have to come back out here. You rushed back inside and didn’t take it all in. We may never have this opportunity again. Some people live their entire lives without having this experience.”

I was met with whining and complaining about how cold it was and how wet they had gotten out there. Either I convinced them or they simply did it to appease me. Either way, they followed me back outside. We laughed as we took selfies, the amazing Seattle skyline the perfect backdrop to our rain drenched hair and goofy faces.

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The following day, we took the ferry to Bainbridge Island and upon our return, I jumped out of the car. I could hear the kids yelling at me out their windows.

“Mom, what are you doing? We’ll be there soon. You have to be in the car. You can’t just stand out there.”

“I’ll be right there. This is too good to miss.”

I stood in awe of the Ferris Wheel, its magnanimous presence on the edge of the still waters we traveled. Eventually, first my husband, then my son, then my daughter joined my side one by one. We stood in silence, lost in the moment, grateful for the opportunity to witness such beauty.

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My husband’s words on the plane brought up each of these moments, but it also made me reflect on why I was so over the top enthusiastic about this stuff. I looked back at each of this trip’s memories with no regret. Each of these photos transports me right back to that exact moment and conjures up the same feelings.

On the flight home, I kept replaying his words in my mind. I wondered what made me see the world the way I do? I’m not sure, but I do know when I was a kid I could have never imagined seeing the things I’ve seen or traveled to the places I’ve been. Maybe, I am just so grateful for the experiences I only dreamed of when the eight year old me lay in bed creating adventures based not the water stains on her bedroom ceiling. Perhaps, losses in my life have taught me how fleeting time is and that we should do everything in our power to live life to the fullest. Maybe, I’m just searching for the beauty in the world even when it seems non-existent.

“Over every mountain is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.”

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