The daffodils are in full bloom. There are leaves on my Japanese red maple tree again. Seeds are going into the garden. Yes, the cruel season known as winter is coming to an end. The world is waking up again, exploding into a riot of color and birdsong otherwise known as spring.
Growing up in Florida, I didn’t really appreciate the seasons because, well, we really don’t experience them the way folks do in other areas of the United States or around the world. (We often joke that Florida has two seasons: summer and January.) But now that I’m a Georgia girl, I get the chance to experience all four — sometimes more thoroughly than I’d like to.
Sitting outside this morning, listening to water flowing through my neighbor’s creek and watching my husband’s bees begin their daily gathering, I thought about all the good things in the universe. There are so many reasons to be happy, so many causes for joy and celebration and wonder.
Seventeen years ago, multiple sclerosis threatened to rob me of all those things. It sent me into a very dark place, and there seemed to be no way out. But in time, I clawed my way back to life. I fought for joy because I knew I needed it, and I have stubbornly refused to give it up ever since, even for a second. I wander through life with my eyes, ears, and heart wide open — eagerly drinking in everything the world (and the people in it) have to offer.
If you’re feeling lost and need to reconnect yourself to good things, might I suggest the following?
Go read Peter Wohlleben’s book “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, Discoveries from a Secret World.” From it, you’ll learn how trees “talk” through networks of fungus. Seriously, they can relay messages when predators are nearby and take steps to protect themselves and warn neighbors. Marvel at the return of cherry blossoms to our nation’s capital this year and how, as always, they fill it with stunning beauty for just a few short days.
Curl up on the couch and watch “My Octopus Teacher.” You’ll be utterly humbled by the intelligence of an animal that only lives a few years at best. When you’re done with that, learn about how animals — from the hummingbird to the massive blue whale — can navigate the globe with no training or tools.
Humans are pretty amazing, too! I mean, there are photographers talented (and patient) enough to capture the Milky Way in a 1.7-gigapixel composite image, as well as craftspeople who have figured out how to turn used chopsticks into functional and fashionable home goods.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky once wrote that, “Beauty will save the world,” and I firmly believe he’s correct. Every time I watch the Nicholas Brothers dance, Bobby McFerrin improvise, or Stanley Tucci cook (and celebrate food) in Italy, I echo the words of Louis Armstrong. We truly do live in a wonderful world.
That’s why it’s so essential for us to appreciate and protect it. And we must also applaud the gifts of others (and share ours with them). That’s what makes life worth living, even when the going feels hard.
I’d love to hear about what leaves you breathless and open-mouthed in wonder. Would you tell me about it in the comments?
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.
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