On my early morning run down our lane I decided to look up. Surprised by the variety of distinctive patterns, the beautiful fans of needles high in the Scots Pine caught my eye. You can only see them if you look up against the sky. What else do I routinely miss by looking down?
Being more intentional about looking up has many rewards. The slender pattern of ash leaves. Delicate fruiting bodies on moss covered branches silhouetted against the light. The awesomeness of the sky itself, its vastness and light. It both takes my breath away and makes me breathe more deeply.
How much do we miss by being satisfied with eye-level living?
We need to look up to refresh our perspective. If our world view is only shaped by what’s right in front of us – it is too small. We are part of something much, much bigger.
And it doesn’t all depend on us, even though at times it can feel that way.
Looking up, seeing beyond our current circumstances, can restore our hope. Not in ourselves, but in our having a part to play that will count. But not just on our own, even if at the moment we feel alone.
Part of history
This is because when we look up we also see that we are part of a bigger story. One that we have joined at this moment in time, but which started long before us and will continue afterwards.
When Steve and I came here in 2006, we discovered that the vision for this place as a source of fresh water for the city was started by my then predecessors (the Local Board for Health) 140 years earlier. I was in fact the last full-time chief exec of the Swansea Local Health Board. Awesome and humbling in equal measure.
What story are you a part of? When did it start and where are you taking it?
Sometimes we need to stop and look up just to catch our breath. To reorientate ourselves and make sense of where we are.
Other times it’s because we need to unclutter ourselves from the daily distractions and see more clearly what is going on. Our eyes get so adjusted to the stuff around us, right in front of us. We can’t see the proverbial wood for the trees.
Sometimes we need to see that there’s a fork coming up in the road ahead. What do we need to think about before we get there?
Where are you right now? What do you need to see?
Walking the road
Running whilst looking up isn’t always a great idea! I did get whacked by an outstretched bramble branch, though I do know the lane well enough to avoid the pothole.
So looking skyward isn’t for all of our time. But we need its perspective and reassurance to keep walking this uncommon path and make a difference where we are.
I wouldn’t have seen the delicate dew drops gracing the moss on the branch above the brook if I hadn’t looked up. But I also needed to stop walking to really study them. To notice their fragile beauty and tenacity in reaching for the light. And marvel at the fact that I may have been the only person privileged to have seen them.
A token along the way that did my heart good.
So take time to look up. You might be amazed by what you see.