The elementary school I attended had rows of cherry trees along the front entrance.

Every spring, when they were in bloom, the teachers would declare it was "popcorn season" because the popcorn trees were in bloom.

More than once, our seasonal art project would involve a faux tree adorned with popcorn.  It was comical, but refreshing after long weeks of gray, drizzly, Oregon winter.

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry BlossomsThis particular season is one of my favorites.  It's just getting warm enough to trek outside without a jacket, but not so warm that you bake in the sun after a stroll or a jog.

The flowers are just starting to come out, but spring is not yet in enough affect to trigger seasonal activities.

Also, school is still in session, so I don't have to share my hiking trails with hundreds of teenagers or over-sugared little children.

While I walk through my neighborhood, I have the freedom to stop and actually appreciate the beauty before me.

The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.
- The Last Samurai

Taking Time

I try to take a walk every evening when I'm done with work.  After sitting for 8+ hours, staring at a computer the exercise is refreshing.

But it's much more than physical activity.

Until last weekend, my evening strolls have been in the dark - often in the wind and the rain as well.  This past week, though, they've been in the waning sunlight of a just finished day with clear blue skies overhead and the laughter of families carrying from the park down the street.

Taking time to breathe in the world doesn't just refresh me physically, it helps me refresh emotionally and spiritually as well.

Reflecting on the beauty of the sun-filled sky, the songs of birds in the trees, the joyful noise of children playing baseball, even the simple elegance of a just-bloomed cherry blossom in therapeutic.

It helps me connect with the other wonders of creation around me, and makes me even more grateful for an amazing creator at the same time.