at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Little Beauties: Finding Joy in the Small Things

Last year, Tom and I took an amazing trip out to Colorado. After visiting with some family in Denver, we rented a car and drove in a big circle clockwise around the state, stopping in several little towns along the way. My favorite was Ouray. This little mountain town booms at 4th of July -- and not just because is the fireworks (though those were amazing). Nestled in the San Juan mountains, it's a beautiful area and a neat place to experience. My favorite part of the trip, however, was a little ways south of there, closer to the town of Silverton. We did the most amazing mountain hike -- starting at about 9,800 feet and going to almost 13,000. With steep switchbacks and thin air, the hike was a real butt kicker for us flatlanders! 

Despite that, it was the most beautiful place I've ever seen. I kid you not, when we came out of the woods about a quarter of the way through the hike and the path suddenly opened to this huge expanse of a mountain glade, with peaks above and sweeping views of the San Juan mountains below, I literally almost cried. It was that beautiful. 

From there, it just kept getting better and better. Entering the lower mountain basin, we came across countless waterfalls, rushing down into streams of fresh snow melt. There were so many waterfalls that we joked of being sick of them. After the fifth or sixth one they kind of become commonplace and lose the excitement that first few had. 

There was a steep climb after that to our destination: Ice Lake. An alpine lake that sparkles with Caribbean blue water, surrounded by 13,000 foot mountain peaks and still has snow around it in July -- this place was truly amazing. 

But, that was not all. In addition to Ice Lake, there was another lake just another 20 or so minutes up the mountain trail: Island Lake.  While, compared with Ice Lake, Island Lake was just "mediocre", the best part of the trip was coming down from Island Lake, offering sweeping views of bot the upper and lower basins of the hike we'd just done -- with an aerial view of Ice Lake!

Photos cannot do this place justice. The experience as truly ineffable. But, there was something else that I was interested in on this hike, besides the grand waterfalls, majestic peaks and sweeping panoramas: wildflowers. I kept my eyes peeled for these little gems of color, and somewhere along the hike I had this thought: "Don't miss the little beauties amid the grandeur." Amid everything else, there was a whole other world of beauty if you took the time to look around, look down and notice the little things. And, I thought, that's a lot like life.

It's easy to go chasing after the next big thing--to live your life with this constant need to reach the next milestone. We tend to focus our lives around big events -- or even just living for the weekends. We seek that "high" from a big experience, and often we feel like next time it needs to be bigger and better. But, most of life is not made up of those big special moments. Most of life is...well, mundane. It's made up of a lot of routine tasks -- make the bed, brush your teeth, make a meal, sweep the floor. Your work may or may not be exciting, but even in a job I love, there are mundane activities (indeed, many people would see almost my entire job as a painstaking chore; I happen to be a data nerd, so I'm perfectly content with most of it!).

Exotic Vacations, exciting hobbies and that big promotion are all wonderful things that should be celebrated and enjoyed. But they are not everything. If we don't pay attention, we can so easily miss all of the little details each day that make life so special. And the little details are beautiful. That extra hug from your spouse in the morning. Snuggles with your kids (or, if you're like me, your dog). The taste of a rich cup of hot coffee in the morning. The smell of the autumn air. These are beautiful and wonderful things, too -- if you take the time to notice them. Enjoying life includes taking pleasure in the big events, but more often it means finding joy in your everyday life. Each moment is a gift -- embrace each day!
“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalms 118:24).”

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!