While a group of teenagers behind me complained about 'young people' not having an emotional response to the latest Finding Nemo film - which they were certain indicated a grave future for us all - I stared at a tree. It's roots ran under the anxious group, and I imagine they ended just beneath me, spreading out in every direction. I was staring at the leaves, which shimmered in the slight breeze and stark sunlight, releasing a wave of sound built from small leaf-to-leaf interactions. Like neighbors greeting each other all at once. The sound reminded me of photo where the subject is set out against a noisy background, relaxation washing over me. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.
This only took 10 seconds of full attention, and in return I was gifted with a moment of peace. This seems meagre, but in the world I feel we're living in at the moment, it is significant. There were people walking to and from a shopping center nearby, bike's passing by, and the distraught teenagers babbling onwards, but I found a slice of escape, of presence. In one way it's hard: to let go of the bubbling engine of our mind. In another it's easy: there is always a reminder of something solid and changing around. Bee's wrapping around a branch of lavender, a sprout of grass on the sidewalk, leaves in the wind. We need these moments, to remind us of our own roots on this rock rotating in vast-nothingness, and to appreciate our awareness of it for no reason in particular. We don't need a lifetime of monk-ish training for this, just a re-direciton of attention; a flashlight shone with intention.