This morning’s sky is gray and the temp is low with a slight intermittent breeze. I doubt anyone complains after the overdose of summer heat and humidity we have endured. Living in SE Missouri, we are accustomed to Mother Nature’s fickle moods so it’s no surprise the weekend forecast proclaims more sultry weather ahead. It’s a coin toss what we might be experiencing by the time this hits newsprint.
So what is a tranquil autumn morning like this good for? Sitting still, that’s what! Not sitting still in a device daze, though. Sitting still, doing nothing except looking and listening. Sitting still challenges even oldsters among us. We can be older than two and still struggle with aggravating squiggles.
This particular gray morning an invisible choir of crickets chirps in mesmerizing unison, the glowing goldenrod sways in a graceful ballet and a solo bird salutes them now and then with encouraging notes. My silent stillness might ensure the performance lasts a while longer.
It’s the canvas of gray skies I find most intriguing, though it’s too early to see the palette of colors anticipated each fall. Instead, deep vibrant hues of green draw a sharp ragged outline across it – here by a clump of pine with majestic oaks dominating, and there by a lone hickory. A stately trunk stands stubbornly among them as if flaunting its barkless, polka-dotted non-conformity. Below the stark outline the gray peeks through the greens, gradually diminishing as the foliage gets denser, disappearing altogether at the bottom of the canvas.
The sun’s appearance adds sparkles and shadows to this now sky-blue canvas, spotlighting a yellow butterfly and a few falling leaves that join the ballet. A solitary feathered friend perches atop the hollow tree as increased traffic muffles the cricket chorus. A yellow jacket’s buzzing breaks the morning’s mood and motivates me to move – in a mighty hurry.
This morning’s meditative video with soundtrack makes me more aware of the magnificence of this spot on the globe. Make time to experience the interactive canvas that Mark Twain National Forest showcases any day, any season. The cost? Any amount of stillness you can muster. The payoff? Wonder, peace and gratitude.