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America the Beautiful

Oh beautiful, for spacious skies

For amber waves of grain

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain


These words from a verse of America the Beautiful have echoed through my mind this week as I have gazed upon the waning light of the western sky across fields of grain and the river valley below. I was reminded of the majesty and depth of nature as we hiked the Mill Creek Trail of Teton Canyon in Wyoming today. The flowers blanketing the alpine fields shone bright in the afternoon light attracting all manner of insects who sang boldly as we passed by.

This month began with the celebration of this nation's independence; at great cost we stand and live here now. The beauty of the world around us is expounded by our capacity and freedom to explore it in relative safety. I am reminded of the frailty of life and balance that can be found within as I examine the colors, the new life emerging, and death scattered about, the passage of time and the changes happening constantly around us. Our realities are shaped by our perception, what we sense and feel, the experiences we have. We can surround ourselves with light, or get lost in the darkness.

Today I hope for peace, but I realize peace is a choice, made within. Peace begins with me. What I allow in, what I allow to fester impacts how I feel about the world around me. I could see a beautiful mountain with stunning flowers, another could see the creepy crawlies, the dirt, and the discomfort of the outdoors. So be it. This is not meant to be a sermon based on ideals, or a command on how to live. I simply feel I can live in such a way that I can be free, within my heart, from the expectations and anxieties of the churning world around me. Nature reminds me of this hope as I see it survive and thrive even in the most difficult times and in the most difficult environments.

Enjoy a few pictures from this week! More to come as the summer continues.


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