|Squirrel munching on an acorn - he let me take his picture!|
Since I've started making it a point to live a quieter life (i.e. no cable t.v., no endless activities, etc.), I have noticed a dramatic change in how I look at the world. Time moves slower. I listen to my daughter more and spend more time with her. I take naps. I read my Bible. I light candles and sit and write.
I've really noticed this new quietness when I take my walks. I go on a trail that passes two lakes full of ducks and geese (and I've noticed a Blue Heron hanging around, too), and gorgeous trees and bushes with squirrels scampering around and bunnies hopping amidst the low branches.
The best part about this time of the year, though, is that I have literally looked at the trees every day and watched their somewhat astoundingly fast progress from summer to fall. The leaves really don't take their time in turning gorgeous colors. Blink and you might miss it. Within the space of a week, I've seen green leaves turn to dark golds, reds, and even peach. If you take the time to pick up one of the fallen leaves and study it, you will see a pattern of color that no man or computer could ever reproduce.
Whenever my quietness slips away and worry starts to nag at my brain (mostly over recent health issues), I go out for a walk to reconnect to God and to quiet my mind again. I pay attention to to the beauty around me: the changing leaves; the cool breeze rustling through the trees; clusters of bright red berries on the bush; acorns smashed on the sidewalk; fluffy-tailed squirrels darting up trees; fallen leaves crunching underfoot; and the scent of pine trees and sun-baked leaves.
This has all contributed enormously to my writing. I "see" things differently - character motivations, descriptive passages, dialogue, themes, etc. I feel like I have a vast amount of material to mine just from opening my mind to the simpler, smaller things in life.
Because in the end, that's what it's really all about.