Every morning, before we get down to the business of farm chores or work or breakfast, Charlie and I take a walk.
It's short and slow (because that's what he needs these days), but it's usually a nice way to frame the day for us both. Charlie will only drink from the creek (a strange side-effect of being sick for so long), so we head there together three times a day in an effort to keep him moving and hydrated.
And for the most part I truly love this new rhythm.
It's quiet and peaceful and gets me moving shortly after I wake. But there are also days when it's so hot and humid that I'm soaked through before we make it to the creek. And I've been home alone for just over a week, so when I get back to the house all of the farm chores fall to me. Which is a lot.
And so this morning I was preoccupied.
It would be my last day of doing morning chores alone before my family finally returns from their ill-fated journey up north. (They left for what was meant to be a four- or five-day trip, but ended up having significant car troubles and were stranded up north for over 10 days.) Add to their absence the fact that we had a small flood two days ago; that Charlie has been seeming sicker again; that we have a costly car repair to pay for; and that another flood is on its way tonight and my heart wasn't in our walk this morning.
I was in my head, not in my body. I was thinking about my to-do list, not our path to the creek.
Just general fretting, I suppose. At which I am a master. (Not to brag, but, yeah. A master.)
And as Charlie drank I finally looked up.
I glanced alongside the creek where our trail winds down to the water, and I noticed a string of jewels hanging from a web. Dew drops – mist from our daily morning shroud – hanging delicately before my eyes.
And it took my breath away.
I didn't expect to find something so lovely on a day like this. So busy with worry was I, that I forgot for a moment the beauty that surrounds me.
I looked further down the creek and realized that they were everywhere. Jeweled webs and spider silk everywhere I looked. It was magical.
I turned and looked back at the way we had just come, and sure enough, lining our entire path was a series of masterpieces I had walked by (and likely through) and never seen.
And I realized then how fleeting this fragile beauty is. One gust of wind, or a few more moments in the hot sun and their beauty would be lost. Is that impermanence part of what makes them so splendid? Maybe so.
And to think – they were there all along. I only had to step out of myself for a moment to notice.
Back at the house now, the rain has begun again.
Those fragile webs are gone, for now. And I'm grateful that I noticed them while they were here.
And tomorrow? Tomorrow there will be more beauty to discover.
If only I remember to put down my troubles and look.