Adding color to a drab Autumn

I thought this Fall was going to be a bust. A lot of the leaves on many of the trees just looked like they were shriveling up and falling off. No real colors, just a bunch of dried leaves. It was a bit of a bummer.

Two things happened that changed my perspective. First, I think I was a little impatient. Although, I don’t really remember a bunch of shriveling leaves in past Autumns, the colors did get better. Second, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, Tim. He lives in California but grew up right here in good ol’ Michigan.

During our conversation he asked how the colors were here. He said he missed Michigan in the Fall. He talked about living in California and how there just isn’t a Fall Season. There are no colors to enjoy. I’ve never been to California in the Fall but if California is anything like Colorado, you get green, brown, yellow, and more brown. While I was in Colorado at Bible College a friend of mine there said, “Look at all the beautiful colors.” I said, “There’s yellow. That’s not ‘colors’. That’s ‘color’.”

Then it started getting good. There were vibrant colors red, yellow, gold, and orange. There were these stands of trees with a wonderful mixture of all of those colors. It was beautiful.1018131158

Which brings me to Smartphones. Perhaps one of my favorite things about Smartphones (perhaps my only favorite thing) is that the cameras are not too shabby. It occurred to me that he could use some cheering up and that I could send pictures to him of some of the fabulous colors as I went about my day.

Being on a mission to send these pictures to my friend really opened my eyes.  There were all sorts of trees to choose from. More than once, while driving with my wife, I would pull over to take a picture of a tree. This started to frustrate her as it increased our time to get anywhere.

After I got some pictures, I would use an app on my phone to adjust the pictures and then send them off to California. From his responses, they helped brighten his day. His comment helped me enjoy Fall more than I would have otherwise.

This got me thinking about how many things I miss on a regular basis because I’m not looking for them. How often am I consumed with my own thoughts and concerns that I don’t see the beauty around me? If I’m honest with myself: A lot.

It was really nice to get outside of my head and care about someone else. Because I was thinking about my friend and what I could do for him, I spent less time thinking about me and my frustrations or problems.

Here are a couple of lessons I learned along the way:

  1. You don’t need a camera. Just looking around your surroundings like you’re going to take a picture makes you more aware.
  1. It is helpful to think about someone else. It’s not that I am too self-absorbed, but I can get caught up in the daily or weekly grind. Thinking about sending pictures to brighten a friend’s day, really helped me.
  2. Stopping to take a picture or two helped me enjoy the journey as much as the destination. It was good to slow down. There is a lot to see when you slow down long enough to notice it.
  3. Pick something to notice. Tune into the world around you and start to notice the beauty that surrounds us.

There’s a lot to notice in this world, too much to take in all at once. But, in a world filled with economic woes, political strife, war, disease, and famine wouldn’t it be nice to fill your senses with some really beautiful things? I know it has helped me.

Go on, give it a whirl.


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