“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.” – John Muir

For the past week, my family travelled through various parts of the Pacific Northwest. I witnessed an array of emotions, but one pervading theme threaded my experiences: the overwhelming beauty and the magic of the earth.

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When I intersected with Multnomah Falls in Portland, I could not stop watching the cascade of tiered water falling from the earth. Every time I tried to steer my head in another direction, an inner peace pulled my eyes toward the goodness that spilled out of the earth. Even amidst all of the crowds, my cadence slowed and my breath remained steady. A certain mysterious, but mystical quality lingered in the air.

 

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At the Portland Farmers Market, the bounty of the earth provided a streak of color to the gray pavement Fresh red strawberries, purple cauliflower and a rainbow of tomatoes connected the dots in this outdoor shopping area. It reminded me how our soil can produce treasures, especially those that are unencumbered by artificial processes. As I bit into a blackberry, I connected with the earth in the most intimate way: I tasted it.
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Watching the reflection of the buildings in the water, my mind gravitated toward the blend between nature and its inhabitants. The skyline creates a majestic, but serene view of Stanley Park. Biking around the curves and bends of the park, I grew mindful of not only of my pedaling but of the vastness of this green oasis in the middle of the city. The contradiction between two contesting environments did not bother me, but enhanced my appreciation.

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A local artist created these structures near the shore. He balanced each rock with careful precision. Everyone who passed by his rock garden took pictures and commented how impressed they were by his endeavor. Two perspectives struck me the most: Beauty can be uncomplicated. And this particular artist enjoyed his pursuit, without thinking of revenue and the fact that the tide destroyed his work within hours.

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This rose brought to the surface a quote by Saadi, “The rose and the thorn, and sorrow and gladness are linked together.” As a collective, the rose looked strong, but individually each petal appeared fragile. So much of our lives are filled with a tension between two diametric opposite emotions, happiness and sadness. Staring at this rose, I am reminded again.

This post originally appeared on The First Day.

 

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