Spring is finally here, with the daffodils smiling their golden yellow trumpets at the bright sky, and the clocks have sprung forward an hour. We’re on the road to summer, with a pit-stop of vibrant colour, warmer weather and changes in nature to enjoy along the way. But how many times have you stopped to enjoy the changes sprouting around about you?
It seems as thought spring has taken its time to arrive this year. We’re in April and the daffodils are still enjoying their brief season in the sun, but some of the cherry and apple blossom trees have yet to reach their own glorious explosion of colour. Spring is the season of opening the windows (and our hearts) to the fresh air and new opportunities awaiting us. It’s time to step forwards, out of the winter gloom, preparing ourselves for the upcoming summer season of socialising and sunshine. But spring is much more than a stop-gap between winter and summer, it’s an exciting adventure in an ever-changing landscape, one that I hadn’t fully appreciated until recently.
Taking Jackson out his walk is an important part of my life now, I enjoy giving him time to sniff and explore, as he gets to know our area. He loves visiting familiar walk routes and new places, taking it all in his little stride. But wherever we go together are normally places I have visited many times over on my own, and sadly I’d stopped noticing what was going on around me. Like most people who might be out for a walk or headed somewhere, without a dog, I mostly had my music on and head down. I didn’t take the time to lift my gaze up to see the changes happening on an almost daily basis to the world around me.
Watching Jackson learning about his environment has encouraged me to take my earphones out and hit the pause button, occasionally. Taking the time to notice the buds on the trees and the freshly cut grass has brought the wonder back into this season, and I’ve found a new appreciation for the place I live while going on walks with my wee dog.
We’ve had a year of firsts with Jackson, this is his first spring. He had never seen or smelled a daffodil until recently and exploring the buds on the formally lifeless bushes is amazing to him. When you stop to think about it, it should be amazing to us too. But we don’t often hit the pause button and look around at the changes nature is sharing with us every day. Rushing to and from work, family and social demands consume a large amount of our time, leaving little space for appreciating what’s out there.
But sometimes, all it takes is a little fluffy shih tzu puppy to teach us the lesson of being truly mindful. He lives completely in the moment, enjoying every second of his walk, whereas I have viewed our walks as a time to listen to a podcast to expand my knowledge. Jackson expands his knowledge by learning from everything and everyone. When we meet people, he stops to say a hello, and so do I, now. Being more in the moment I’ve noticed the daily changes to the space from the buds on trees to the freshly cut grass and the eye-catching flowers springing up all around.
Perhaps Jackson is some kind of zen master, or maybe I’m having my eyes opened to a more authentic way of living, one where I’m connected to myself and the world around me. Either way I don’t mind because as I’m out for my walk with my little dog, I can be 100% with him, enjoying all that we see, smell and encounter. That is the true application of mindfulness and the best way to approach the spring season.