My life is hectic. I am the mother to three young and active children. I am trying to be a writer and blogger and also trying to kick start my career. My house is cluttered and often messy, and sometimes I feel like I am really just a short order cook. I spend a lot of time in my car, driving one child to a play date or karate or baseball. I am always planning the next meal, booking a child’s haircut or changing a dirty diaper. Sometimes I have to slow down. Sometimes I have to stop and just smell the roses.
This thought suddenly came to my mind last week, specifically on Thursday afternoon, as I drove my children home from school. We were sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, inching along the road when I looked out the passenger side window of my car and saw a bizarre but wonderful sight.
Please let me paint the picture for you of what I saw. Our car was on an unattractive section of a busy street in Toronto. This section of the street was dotted with many small, attached homes, most in a state of disrepair. Most of the homes had overgrown front gardens, cracked concrete steps and rickety front porches.
But, like an oasis in a desert, there was one home that had the most magnificent arbour in front, covered in vibrant magenta flowers. As I am not a flower expert (if someone can tell me what kind of flower this is I would appreciate it!), I don’t know if these flowers were roses or something else. But that is irrelevant. Surrounded by much ugliness and city congestion I saw before me great beauty.
And that’s not it. People were rushing up and down the sidewalk. They took no notice of this genuine splendour in front of a rather nondescript home. Then I saw one person stop. She looked at the arbour, moved her face close to it and took a deep breath. She literally drank in the look and smell of the flowers in one great deep breath. Then as swiftly as she stopped she was on her way down the street.
I was so taken by this act that I pulled out my iPhone and snapped a picture of the arbour and its flowers (see today’s feature photo). Suddenly the traffic and slow drive did not bother me. The children’s whines that our car was inching along seemed distant. All I could think about was this woman who, during her busy day, stopped, and she smelled the roses.
Sometimes I have to stop and just smell the roses. Nature’s beauty is calming and it reminds us all that it is healthy to slow down and appreciate our world’s simple wonders. That woman’s small act has inspired me and I hope to follow what she did, and maybe even pay it forward.