“Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

            Mary Oliver

I discovered while hiking that I had this alarming habit of keeping my eyes on my feet. This was understandable in one sense as walking along a hiking trail is not an easy thing — the uneven ground with roots and rocks sticking out, the occasional fallen tree to step over, and the sporadic (Moose, Bear, Elk) scat along the way makes for a somewhat hazardous trek. My main goal is not to fall on my face.

The problem of course is that in looking at my feet I am not paying attention to the wonder of the trees and mountains and waterfalls and sky. My eyes always watching for the next obstacle rather than being astonished by the gift that surrounds me in every moment along the way. I must remind myself to look up. To see. To notice. To say thanks.

How true in my life that I keep my eyes on my feet rather than looking up to see the wonder. I focus on the obstacles that might trip me up. There are the constant rocks and roots of daily living threatening to cause me to fall on my face. There is the occasional fallen tree in my life requiring effort to climb over sometimes with great difficulty. And to be honest there is a lot of scat to avoid along my way.

Mary Oliver has it right. I remind myself to look up and pay attention to the breathtaking beauty that surrounds me. When I lift my eyes from the path, I am astonished by the beauty of it all. And I want to tell people to see and to notice and to say thanks. These are good instructions for living.