Emails flood my in-box. Texts fill up my cell phone. There are PDFs for me to open and review. If I don’t make lists for myself, I’ll probably forget all the things I need to do. The pace of life is frantic, and I am running at a tempo that leaves me gasping for breath. In a society addicted to productivity, it is hard to find space to just ... be.
I turn from my computer screen and look out the window into my garden. Today I am lucky to be working from home, a “perk” that came out of the pandemic. I decide to take a minute—just a minute—to go outside and look at the flowers blooming, to feel the summer air on my skin.
I walk down my garden path, checking on my flowers and ornamental grasses. It is early July and my lavender is in full bloom. I stop to smell the sharp, peppery scent the plants are giving off. I look a little closer and see a small grasshopper clinging to a lavender stem.
I bend down to take a closer look. The grasshopper doesn’t move. I look even closer and find myself sitting down to watch him (or her?). I can see the detail of the grasshopper’s huge eyes. I am amazed as I observe the grasshopper’s curly little tongue flick in and out of its mouth as it feeds on the lavender.
My breathing slows. I am in awe of this little, bright green insect that is letting me share its lunchtime. I hear a plane overhead, but I take no notice of it. I find that my mind is quiet as I focus on the grasshopper’s chewing. At that moment, I connect with both the grasshopper and the natural world around me.
When I stepped out the door into my garden, I didn’t expect to commune with a tiny grasshopper chomping on lavender. As the Scottish conservationist John Muir said: “ . . .with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” It was almost as if the grasshopper was imbued with some type of divine wisdom. This little insect was there for me at just the right time and in just the right place, giving me permission to slow down, to take a breath and find the space to just ... be.
~ Kimberly Whitworth
Note: Our guest writer Kimberly Whitworth works in the insurance industry and is a paddler, naturalist, and sometimes writer. She lives North of Boston with her Scottish Terrier, Agnes. An experienced kayaker, Kim often volunteers as 'sweep' for Pray and Paddle.