I’ve begun to notice that no matter how beautiful the place I live is, after a short time, I begin to take it for granted, and stop noticing it. Be it a beautiful train ride along the coast in Dublin on the DART, or driving in Cape Town with Table Mountain on the horizon. After a few days, my field of vision narrows and all I see is the other miserable commuters on the train or the miles of cars ahead of me on the highway. The natural beauty is still there, all I have to do is look up and focus on the distant horizon.
I was walking in Greyton, a tiny village in the Western Cape, South Africa and the same thing happened. I was looking straight ahead at other walkers, or down at my feet or at the cars that went past. For some reason, I looked up and there in front of me, leaping out of the horizon were the most beautiful grassy mountains. I knew they were there, they are always there, but I forgot about them. I stopped to take a picture so I would remember how easily I forget and easily take things for granted.
The moment reminded me of how easily we take not just natural beauty for granted, but also the beauty of the people around us for granted. How often do we take those we love for granted, forget how amazing and unique and spectacular they really are, and forget to be awed by them? How often do we get so caught up in daily rubbish and the small stuff that the people we love fade into the background, get forgotten?
I once worked with some older men whose wives had passed away. Each and every one of these men said that their biggest regret was that they did not spend more time with their wives when they were alive. They remembered the feeling of their wives ‘nagging’ them to go shopping and now they wished so much that they had just gone to the shops and being with the woman they loved. So many of these men would have given anything to be dragged to the shops, just once more by his beloved wife. But like the rest of us these men were only human and at the time they were asked to go shopping, they wanted to rest, or watch sport or go to the pub or do anything other than be dragged from shop to shop having to pretend to look interested.
I suppose it is human nature for us to take things for granted, life would be filled with unbearable anxiety if we understood how precious our loved ones really are and how valuable and priceless each moment we have with them is. But I wonder if we can be just a little more attentive to our loved ones, notice them just once a day and maybe even tell them how much they mean to us? I wonder if it wouldn’t hurt to notice the mountain a little more often?