|Photo by Amy Coffman Phillips.|
It felt relaxing because I was alone, my children were being cared for by our babysitter, and I had the luxury to just sit down and look at a field of green and yellow prairie flowers. That experience alone made the time worthwhile. But the multi-tasker in me wanted to be doing something else at the same time - walking or running so that it would count as my exercise for the day; naming the grasses, birds, and bugs I see and remembering the ones I couldn't name; thinking about what I see and practicing my biomimicry translation skills... I find it almost impossible to turn off the part of my brain that tells me what I am doing now is not as important as what I should or could be doing.
After "quieting my cleverness," I came away from the experience with a feeling of vitality, both of the prairie and in myself. The prairie looks like plain grassland to many people, but by sitting down and just observing I know that this place is alive in ways I never imagined. I saw a black crow perched on top of a grass swaying in the wind. I heard bugs buzz by my ear and saw butterflies, moths, and dragonflies - and a few mosquitoes. I heard the grass rustle against each other and I saw critters scatter. Hundreds of species call that patch of grassland home and by sitting down to observe them, I became a part of that system. I felt renewed and connected to something much larger than myself. And it felt great. I will continue to return to the prairie and other environments and I will practice my skills of sitting and being fully present. I hope that one day I will be able to accomplish the task.