“Send them outside!” my grandmother used to say when we’d get too rambunctous for her inside the house. We’d roll in the grass, sweep the stone terrace and weed the pachysandra. At the time I didn’t appreciate being sent outside when the air conditioned house seemed much more inviting. But today I find myself fleeing to the outdoors when life is too much with me.

In a pocket of time yesterday afternoon, the sun kissed the Earth with such benevolence that I felt compelled to grab my broom and sweep up the leaves that continue to fall from our walnut tree. There I met our neighbor who was enjoying the afternoon off from his stressful managerial position at an worldwide furniture store. His pet pig (yes, he owns a pot-belly/dwarf pig) was rooting around the ground for the last walnuts he could find. My son appeared with his soccer ball and a spontaneous game of kick-the-ball ensued between the neighbor and him. With each sweeping motion, I felt the stress of my day fall away. My motions were accompanied by the thump of the ball,  the grunt of the pig and an occasional jubulation for a shot well-done. The smell of the rain-soaked leaves soothed my soul as I realized there is great joy in sharing a moment outdoors ~ with son, neighbor and a pet pig whose presence alone reminds me that no matter how demanding our 24/7 world can be, the beauty of the ever-present moment can be ours if we awaken to it.

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