I took my dog, Toby, for the walk the other day, as I often do. But as I did so, I made a decision early in the walk that I wanted to simply enjoy the time. I told myself that I wasn’t going to think about work or things that needed to get done. I was just going to enjoy the walk. I wanted to make a point of looking around, observing everything around me and simply being present.
I never expected what happened.
My walks aren’t terribly long. Depending on the route they’re about 20 to 25 minutes right now. It’s winter and sometimes 20 to 25 minutes outside is long enough. Once it warms up, I’m sure we’ll venture further again.
My dog likes to go at a pretty good clip. If we do that, he doesn’t feel the need to pull at all, which is a nice bonus. He’s pretty good about not pulling anyway, I spent a decent amount of time training him and I still remind him to heal and I have him walk at MY PACE regularly even if that’s barely moving. It’s a good reminder for him and he doesn’t mind the challenge as long as I don’t do it for too many times in a row during a walk. He’s a mover. Granted he’s only 2 years old, so he’s extremely calm and well-behaved for his age. But the calmness and good behavior seem to simply be part of his nature. That’s a big part of why I just had to have him when I saw him almost 2 years ago at the local animal shelter.
So on our walk a couple of days ago, after I made my decision to look around and just enjoy the time, I started noticing things that I hadn’t noticed before. I had walked past them a number of times, but I’d never seen them before.
Take this decorated rock and whimsical yard, for example. I pass it nearly every time Toby and I go for a walk, but I’d never seen it before. That day I did and it made me smile so I stopped to take a photo.
It inspired me to look for other things that made me smile. It made me want to see what else I could find that had been in front of me all along that I’d never noticed before.
What I found next literally made me laugh out loud.
When approaching the remnants of a melted snowman, it looked like a fat duck nibbling something on the ground. But as I kept walking, I turned to look at it again (while thinking, “hmm… maybe I should take a picture of that duck too”) and saw something entirely different.
From the new perspective, I laughed as the duck had magically turned into a bulldog, missing a head. It was rather amusing to me, so I went ahead and took the photo.
My walk was becoming a fun game and I eagerly looked for more things to discover.
As I looked down to avoid some of the puddles, I smiled at what I saw next in the snow at my feet. Had I not been there, at that time, that very day, I would have missed this one altogether.
The heart was as big as my two hands.
I think of that heart often and how fortunate I was to be able to see it. The timing was perfect to be able to witness something like that. It may seem silly to you or it might not, but either way, this walk made my day.
I haven’t taken a walk the same way since. I find myself being more present and more open to finding things to appreciate. I now keep my eyes open a lot more, even with day-to-day things. Just one walk has had such an impact on how I look at things.
Here are a couple more examples of things that I’ve noticed since that walk.
I make myself eggs nearly every morning, but this particular morning, without trying at all, I noticed that they were smiling at me. I couldn’t help but smile back.
Another evening recently, I was drinking some sparkling cider after dinner. I had only a sip or two left when I looked down and saw another heart. The heart I saw on my walk and the heart I saw in my drink were about 2 weeks apart. But I really enjoy finding things like this.
Here is one final thing that I have seen a number of times. I used to make coffee with hot-chocolate on a regular basis. And since I can’t handle anything hot, I always add three ice cubes to it. Every so often, my morning coffee would smile back at me. These two photos are from 2 different days. You have to be quick with this one since the ice melts extremely fast and moves around while doing it. So if it happens, you almost have to be waiting and ready to catch it in the moment. It’s an amusing game for me. Will my coffee smile today, or not?
How Many Things Can You Find to Make You Smile?
If you’re reading this article, I challenge you to go for a walk outside or in your office building where you work and simply look around. See what you can find that you wouldn’t have noticed before. Maybe someone at work has a hobby that is evident by the things on their desk but you never knew before. Maybe a tree in your neighborhood has a unique twist or shape that makes it look like something from a particular angle.
See what you can find and then share your findings via the comments below! I’d love to hear what you come up with. I’m not sure the comment area will allow you to post a full photo, but if not, you can link to a photo on your Google Drive or send it to me via email and I’ll share it here on this post.
I can’t wait to see what you find!