"..... the perspective of smallness that cultivates surprise wonder, that grows gratitude, that yields joy. The orb awe of a moon that makes the eyes see the kaleidoscope of a bubble that makes the time slow,....."
"ONE THOUSAND GIFTS" Ann Voskamp page 168.
These words completely connected with much of what I have seen, heard and felt over the last couple of weeks while away camping.
Living completely outside in the elements, experiencing and watching them day and night after day and night, does diminish one's self focus, changing you, even 'educating' you.
On arriving at our camping spot there were tents to put up, stuff to be sorted and stored away - a fussy city mindset in action.
But by our last night we sat watching the reflected sunset in the eastern sky over the ocean. The blue horizoned sky toning into pink, was reflected in the sea between the waves and wet foreshore. We sat in silence, not because anyone had the huff, rather we wanted to watch the slow changes of colour fading out.
The boys built a fire on the sand and we moved to sit around it.
Earlier we had cooked dinner - a lamb fillet with potatoes and kumara in the dutch oven over a fire, with pumpkin and zucchini in the BBQ oven.
It had taken much longer to cook than we had guessed but it didn't matter because time had slowed for us.
Even though we live rurally, our sky is affected by the city night glare.
In comparison the camping sky was black with its stars almost protruding in clarity. We had fun satellite tracking, naming the constellations we knew. To clean our teeth at the end of the night under a ceiling of pure black and stars, framed strong with gently curved pohutukawa branches and curtained by their leaves.
Then there were the swells growing and rising into waves which broke in cracks and booms in a chain reaction down the beach.
Waves in precision spaced sets, waves that kept the swimmer guessing. The thrill of diving under a great wave and on coming up to find an even better one approaching. How do you describe crystal clear water where you see to your toes in chin deep water? The colour is out of our imagination.
At the point where the quote I used is found, Ann the author, is speaking about the joy tiny children find in the simplest of things. She speaks of the great excitement and joy her tiny daughter gets from a plastic ball being rolled towards her repeatedly. The giggles and laughs, the face full of smiles and body twitching in anticipation for the next roll of the ball. She also speaks of the huge pleasure it gives the adult who sends the ball rolling along the floor, because the laughter is contagious.
Ann also makes the link of joy coming from surprise. I like this thought. Joy doesn't come from something we conjure up for ourselves, it's the unexpected happening or unthought of reaction - like the thrill of an even better wave rolling towards you.
During the holiday my husband has often used the expression, "you just need to change your mindset", and it's true. I can see camping at times gave us a taste of this choice. There is no way we would have reacted as we did to those events on that last night camping if we had experienced them the first night there. The mindset had to change, adjust, slow-down. This is one reason we do this style of holiday.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ if you at the moment are lacking this "perspective of smallness that cultivates surprise wonder", make the decision to spend some time in the elements - a weekend, a day, an hour. Just watch in silence. Forget the mobile gadgets which only interfere in this experience. I hope you find your time slows down.