Being Present

I was looking for a new greenway biking trail around Nashville and I found the entrance to the Harpeth River Greenway at Edwin Warner Park. It was a pleasant 13-mile ride through Bellevue where I live in west Nashville.

I was about 6 miles out and wasn’t thinking about a stop, but I pulled over when I spotted some ducks on a sandbar in a pond by the greenway. It was midday and the sheen from the green in their wings glistening in the sun caught my eye.

I pulled over and climbed down a small hill with my camera, looking for a comfortable spot to set up for a few photos. As I peered through my viewfinder, I snapped a quick photo to test the light and was surprised to find that I’d captured a duck in flight.

I usually take dozens or even hundreds of photos and hopefully get a few good ones for an afternoon’s work, but as I examined the photo, it was the only photo I needed.

I’ve been back to that location on other bike rides with my camera, but I’ve never seen ducks there again. Apparently, it was my one chance to live in that moment.

I wonder how many things I miss when I’m hurried, trying to rush to the end of my ride or the end of my day, just so I can cross more things off my to-do list. 

That duck wasn’t on my list that day; he was an unanticipated pleasure because I chose to be present in the moment.

I pray that throughout the day we will take time and space to pause and look around us, being present in the here and now. We may just be surprised at the beauty we see.

Blessings, my friend,