This article is a little bit off-topic in that I do not actively explore philosophical questions in it. In fact, this short piece is an exercise I did for my creative writing course. An exercise in writing with my senses. In other words, being here and now and making it real on a page. Therefore, I think it is worth sharing as it can serve as an inspiration for awareness training. Most of us agree on the benefits of increasing our awareness and ability to stay present in the now. Yet, too many of us get overwhelmed by the everyday stuff and get sucked into the concerns, worries, “to-do” lists, wishes and obligations. All the while the actual life is happening right here, right now, and we all are part of it. To me the awareness and ability to be present are about taking an active role in your own life, actually participating in it. Like philosophy, life too is no spectator sport.
The first thing I do when I walk into the green park is taking a deep breath. I close my eyes for a moment, slow down my pace almost to stopping and inhale the fresh air of early autumn. My nose immediately senses the familiar bittersweet smell of the autumn perfume. The main theme is the bitter note of the trees starting to drop their leaves and collect them on the ground as if preparing their bed for a good winter’s sleep. On top of it, there is a touch of a sweet note. I am never quite sure where it comes from but it is always there forming the signature smell of the autumn park. Finally, a hint of growing humidity that lingers in the fresh air rounds up this autumn bouquet. I inhale as deep as I can, savour the smell and tickling feeling in my brain, hold my breath for a little while and exhale slowly while opening my eyes. My nose is always happy to welcome this perfume and my skin readily takes in the sun’s gentle warmth.
Once my eyes are open I begin to absorb all of the rich, juicy and, for now, scarcely spread colours. Walking along the path and feeling tiny stones under my feet I cannot help it not to smile. It looks as if nature is trying out some new pigments it recently acquired as an addition to her mostly green collection in the park. Some of the trees are still spared while others have a bit of red here and a little of yellow there. Not much but always very expressive. Nature doesn’t seem to be shy or fear to attract too much attention. She tries on the colours like a fashion designer or a painter looking to make a bold and breathtaking statement. It is all in preparation. Here for us to see and to realize the constant change.
After walking down the path for a while I start noticing the gentle songs of the birds. I look up towards the higher branches of the trees. Still too many leaves to see small birds. Yet, they are there, busy and telling the world all about it. In the autumn they are no longer as loud as in spring or summer. The sounds grow softer, a little less determined and perhaps taking more notice of the changes around them. Around us all. Their songs always sound optimistic to me, it is never a sound of lamenting. They seem to accept whatever happens with them and around them as it comes. That can be encouraging.
The path ends here, I walk out of the autumn park. I came in with deep thoughts about my everyday concerns. I come out having fed my senses and feeling the life run through me.