In legend, returning from the mountaintop can be a letdown, but, for me, settling back into home in these Texas hills after traveling in the mountains of Colorado feels comfortable, like replacing regular street shoes with cuddly slippers.
There are just as many wonders close to home as there are far afield. One of my neighbors, who has traveled extensively throughout the world, makes a practice of photographing plants, birds, butterflies, and other insects and animals found within fifty feet of his home. His work is beautifully executed and reveals the richness of life carrying on around us.
Marcel Proust wrote, “The only true voyage . . . would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes.”
For me, traveling provides new eyes upon returning home. Familiar sights appear new.
This week, as I walked a path along the creek which I have traveled hundreds of times, I almost stepped on a small fruit lying on the ground.
I didn’t recognze it, so I looked around for its source and, tucked among the bald cypresses, found a 50 foot tall tree I had never noticed. It seems to be a common persimmon, not usually seen in our area. Perhaps it was planted by the German settlers here in the late 1800’s, the ones who built the rock fence which I so love.
On the same walk, I chased a quick-moving velvet ant with my camera, an insect I had never previously bothered to identify or photograph.
I even took a closer look at the whitetail bucks pictured above, so numerous in our area that I usually pay little attention to them. (I have the luxury to ignore them only because I have a tall enough fence to keep them out of my yard where they would munch everything.)
And each early morning since our return from Colorado, I’ve smiled to hear the wild turkeys chattering and fussing as they strut around behind the house.
What a gift it is to notice everyday secret glories with other eyes and other ears.
What would you notice if you had to take fifty photographs today within fifty feet of your house?
What benefits do you find from travel?