Last week my family and I had a chance to get away to Greenville, South Carolina for a few days.
I knew Greenville was supposed to be pretty in the spring. I had been told there were nice hiking trails and a pretty downtown. But honestly, I was still blown away by what we found there.
For right in the midst of downtown was a breathtaking spot called Reedy River Falls Park.
When we first found the park we easily spent an hour just walking back and forth over the bridge taking it all in. We watched the falls with eyes wide and mouths slack with awe. Then we took pictures of the falls, took pictures of ourselves with the falls, took video of the falls, took video of each other looking at the falls.
We just couldn’t get enough of this surprise beauty in our midst.
After about a half an hour we began to notice more of what was around us. We watched children playing at the base of the falls. Couples snuggled up in little nooks watching the falls together. I found it was almost as much fun to watch other people enjoying the falls as it was to enjoy them myself.
As dusk set in we reluctantly left Reedy Falls Park with a plan to come back the next day.
The next morning we came with good walking shoes and cameras. We took our time, entering the park via the far corner and working our way in. We took pictures of the flowers the garden club planted. We sat on benches and watched the river run over small shoals. We hiked and ambled our way throughout the park.
And at every section we came to I noticed something; there were people sitting and soaking up the beauty of this lovely place just as we had the night before. Sure there were tourists there like us.
But what really surprised me were the locals that had come with a cup of coffee to just sit on a bench and drink up the beauty for a while.
Now my husband and I are serious geeks about mental health and spirituality. We sit up in bed together at night and read about what helps make a person emotionally healthy and spiritually healthy. And let me tell you we have read countless studies that show
taking a small break out of your busy day to meditate on something beautiful can be life-changing.
The quiet and joy and hope that moment of silently soaking up beauty brings is priceless.
So I have to tell you I was pretty jealous of these people who got to come to Reedy Falls Park every day. I found myself wondering how much happier I would be if I lived in Greenville and could walk this park every day.
But as we walked on I read more about the history of the park. This part of the city wasn’t always a beautiful spot. There was a long history of industrialization and pollution in this area.
But over time people decided to make a change.
The leaders of Greenville, a plucky garden club, Furman University, Clemon University, and various members of the community all worked together over a number of years and initiatives to create this place of natural beauty centering around the Reedy River and The Falls in this spot in town for centuries.
After many years of purchasing land, cleaning up the river, tearing down things and building up things, the beautiful park I saw before me gradually began to take shape.
And then it hit me.
We all can choose to find and even make beauty where we live.
I may not have a waterfall near my house, but I do have these pieces of beauty to look at.
After we moved into this house my husband started creating these spots of beauty outside each main window.
So whether I am at the kitchen table, the family room, or writing at my desk, I always have something lovely to look at.
In fact, we keep our large back windows free of curtains so that we can better see the birds, squirrels, flowers, and trees in our backyard.
The beauty is there, I just have to remember to take a small moment out of my day to soak it up and let it nourish my soul.
- Where do you find beauty on a daily basis?
- Where could you create a spot of beauty to soak up each day?
- What rhythms and rituals help you remember to take a moment out of each day to soak up the beauty around you?
**I am excited to share that I get the opportunity to co-lead a retreat in the beautiful Appalachian mountains in the peak of their fall glory this year. For more information click on the events button!