With the spring clearly here and the advent of fabulous weather this week—at least in these parts–it’s easy to feel a sense of joy and delight. “A spring in one’s step,” as the saying goes. Forget for a moment the pandemic circuit breaker we are in, for a moment of joyous reflection.

Beauty is all around us—in more places than we may notice at first glance. (You’ll want to read to the end of this piece.)

As I do my walking route, I can’t help but notice the fabulous spring flowers—especially the cherry blossoms everywhere around us in the Fraser Valley. (Sorry, prairie people who are reading this—I don’t mean to rub it in; I’m sure you’re seeing crocuses emerging.)

Along the median of the Trans-Canada it’s not cherry blossoms but a brilliant yellow overlay of daffodils along the grassy slopes.

I continue on my walk and hit the marshy, forested ravine. In the low areas skunk cabbage in full bloom creates another flourish announcing a season of new life. (And, under my breath, I curse the guy who gave this colourful symbol of re-emergence that horrible name!)

I think about the beauty I saw on the television screen last night; the amazing eruption of the volcano on St Vincent Island. Though the results have caused devastation, the six-mile ash cloud was a wonder to behold, as was the eruption in Iceland a few weeks back.

I take a more serious hike into the woods, among the mature stately evergreens, and I see symbols of beauty in the signs winter has left over, to wit, moss hanging from the dead conifers like the pictures in a children’s storybook.

I think back to last fall when, on another hike, we were suddenly presented with an amazing perfect mushroom that we first thought couldn’t possibly be real. It must be a plastic toy gone missing. But it was real, a remarkable natural wonder.

And, thinking of mushrooms, I’m reminded of a hike from last summer, where many different kinds of mushrooms and tree fungi presented amazing patterns of layered colours–beautiful little wonders under the canopy of the giant forest above.

I reflect on sunsets, and on amazing cloud formations that greet us regularly. And our views of Mount Baker that are, somehow, different every time (due to sun angles, the clouds, air pollution, Baker’s steam vents, and the varying amount of snow, etc).

I reflect on the new bird life, Mom and Dad goose proudly watching over their little flock on the shores of Mill Lake.

But I also think back to an experience yesterday at the bank. Waiting in the socially distanced line, an elderly gentleman behind me stepped out of line for a moment to rest in a chair. “I just walked two kilometers to come here,” he said, “and I need a little rest.” Then, he added. “I’m ninety-four.”

And I thought, What a beautiful thing! I sure hope I can be like him when I’m ninety-four.

That momentary thought is really what prompted this blog post. It’s not just about the flowers and trees and mushrooms and birds. It’s also about life well lived, vibrancy at age ninety-four. And many other things you’ll come up with as you reflect on life’s beautiful encounters.

Perhaps Saul Bellow said it best, and simplest: “Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.”

Gotta’ run, get in my exercise, so that I can walk to the bank when I’m ninety-four—if there are still any banks to walk to by then.