Yesterday I drove west and north toward “big town” grocery shopping up in Houghton. At first I asked the Holy if we could play a game–Treasure Hunt. That’s a game where you keep your eyes wide open and the Universe shows you treasures.
Your ace-in-the-hole is your attention. You can’t be lost in mind’s maze of thoughts, stories, novellas. Your eyes peer left, right, up, down as you drive down the road. You wait for your treasure because you’ve asked and you know it will come. You know it’s right around the bend, maybe in the next town, maybe along the lake, maybe in the woods.
OK, Holy, what’s today’s treasure?
After a half hour I didn’t like the game anymore. No treasures appeared. Just skeleton trees and December muted oh-this-looks-so ordinary-and-boring. Dumb game. Bad idea. Yawn…
But that was a thought talking, right? Not the reality of what was appearing moment by moment. Open your eyes, Kathy. Open your eyes, dear reader.
After a while my mind settled down. Hands microscopically moving the steering wheel, eyes scanning horizon, other cars whizzing by.
Attention is our secret power. Our superman and superwoman gift. We just sometimes forget and think it’s our beliefs and opinions. Those are shiny and silver and dangle on our wrists and necks. But attention is gold. It’s the sunshine that illuminates. It’s the Holy toasting itself everywhere.
Finally the lake caught my eye. Really caught my eye. Not just an ordinary lake. Not just ordinary, but fresh, here, now, this. This shimmered in unexpected December sun–a miracle in itself!–and my spirit awoke to the spirit within the waves, rocks, overlooking trees.
Then ice appeared, gleaming on branches, as it communed with the mother-water, as it mouthed mysteries of cold winter transformation.
Oh, treasure. Oh how beautiful, you lake.
I left the steering wheel and walked briefly by the shore. But also suddenly understood in a flash of knowing: it’s not the lake that reveals treasure. Not the December-forming ice. Not waves, not trees, not endless horizon.
The treasure is the holy’s gift of attention. That’s the true treasure. That’s where she reveals herself in every moment, even the boring and ordinary. Those skeleton ordinary December trees? Absolute treasure.
We hunt for what’s already here. What has never been hidden or obscured or missing.
What treasures have you discovered recently, both within and without? Has nature caught your eye and winked? Has your spirit danced in joy as attention revealed the possibilities of a never-ending treasure hunt?
Day 54 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.
I love this. I was waiting to hear what physical treasure you found, and the lake, the ice – treasure. But attention, that I didn’t expect, but it is the real treasure (and eludes this space cadette all the time).
Perspective is a treasure I found today. And you helped guide me to a new one. XOXO
It thrills me that you love this, Stacy, the secret Secret. That attention is the most important thing! And it eludes this space cadette so much of the time, too. But it keeps cycling around again and again and again. *happy smile*
I love “We hunt for what’s already here.” I meant to go to a park early this morning. Fog and the sun coming up would have been beautiful. But my to-do list was too long so I stayed home and enjoyed it here. Which worked out just fine. But tomorrow morning, tomorrow morning I might just head to the park to find a treasure or two.
Dawn, I am so happy you enjoyed this little treasure hunt blog! Bet you maybe might even know where I pulled off the road on Keweenaw Bay and took these pics. Can’t wait to see if you find a treasure or too tomorrow at the park!
Treasures are all around us if we just pay attention. When the mind goes into overdrive with worry and chatter, we miss precious gifts in the form of moments, people, or places. To appreciate requires attention. I thought of this poem by Mary Oliver when I read your post:
I see or hear
that more or less
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
It was what I was born for –
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself
over and over
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant –
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these –
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?
~ Mary Oliver ~
Oh, Barb, this is such a beautiful Mary Oliver poem, and am not sure if I’ve heard it before. Prayers made out of grass, how precious! To see sights that “kill us with delight”. I am now thinking of your beautiful world out there in Colorado, and the delights you show us all the time. “To appreciate requires attention”. YES!
Love this! I struggle with all things winter but I a challenging myself to up my photos this winter. That is a way to make myself to slow down, notice and see beauty in the time of rest for regeneration.
Sarah, I love that you are challenging yourself ways to pay attention this winter. There is beauty here, but it does seem like we must slow down and notice. Thank you so much… ❤
Love this! You are a treasure ❤
Thank you, dear Larissa. And you are a treasure, too. Truly. ❤
What a beautiful part of our country you live in, Kathy! I’m enamored of all this water, even the icy portions! I’m going to have to force myself to get out and about more this winter — I dread the cold, snow, and such, but even that can be lovely if we’ll open our eyes and hearts.
Debbie, it is really beautiful around here. But it’s also interesting how jaded a person can get even when surrounded by beauty. It can become something ordinary if our eyes don’t pause and look and truly see. Will look forward to hearing about your winter adventures, Debbie. ❤
As you know, nature catches my eye and winks every day, in the form of birds, my garden, and the mountain ranges my home overlooks. It’s so easy to become complacent and miss the magic, so we do need to keep our eyes wide open to the small, yet oh-so-grand miracles surrounding us. Thank you for the reminder to travel through life with our eyes and hearts wide open! I love this line – “We hunt for what’s already here.” Isn’t that the truth? ❤
P.S. I love the poem Barb shared in her comment. 🙂
You are so attentive to the beauty and spirit around you, Joanne. It’s what I like about visiting your blog–how you pay attention to so much. Just typed in another comment how easy it is to let the beauty become something ordinary, and not notice it for what it is–a miracle. Complacent describes what happens to us. And Barb’s poem is so great. I do love Mary Oliver’s wisdom and love of nature and the ordinary.
I suspect that focusing on the small miracles could help a lot of people to ignore the huge catastropies around the world. It’s the things we focus on that overwhelm us, so why be overwhelmed by the negative when focusing on Nature’s Miracles will heal the pain? I’m sure there’s another blog post for you to write on the topic of the power of miracles. 😉
Hmmm, Joanne, I love how you guys keep prompting new topics for blog posts! We shall seed if this one sprouts seeds. If not here, maybe you’ll have to write one! *smile*
Mindful attention bring us into Presence .. and gratitude for what we take for granted. That is the treasure. 💕🙏💕
Treasure indeed, dear Val! ❤
As Thoreau once wrote, “how much of beauty — of color, as well as form — on which our eyes daily rest goes unperceived by us!” I keep discovering those treasures of color and form every time I head out for a walk in the seemingly dull brown winter woods. I loved the treasures you finally saw in your pictures! You’re so right, attention is our secret power.
Barbara, I always feel your eye for treasure when you post nature photos on your blog. Thank you for the Thoreau quote. May we keep remembering our secret power. xoxo
The world is full of treasures. No – not to be hunted for – but there for those who take the time to look.
You are so right, Frank. And you are one that is keeping his eyes open for treasures all the time!
Nature catching my eye and winking? Oh Yes. And sometimes I feel like Nature already has Her eyes on me.
A couple days ago my husband and I were having a quiet and enjoyable take-out lunch date in the car at the park, when someone’s litter in the parking lot caught my eye. I got all sorts of judge-y and self-righteous about it. “Why do people just throw their trash out like that?! Why are there not more garbage cans around?! Well, I would never—” Then quite suddenly, in the midst of my tirade, a mockingbird swooped down to the hood of my car, and looked me quite pointedly in eye, before sweeping down to snag a piece of the McDonald’s bun. I was reminded by The Man to “Look at the birds of the air…”
Oh I love that mocking bird story! Nature sure gave you a very pointed wink in the form of that mockingbird. Love when these lessons happen. xoxo