Today at work, I was at the first of two teacher-training days that helped us prepare for a five-day event that will happen later this school year, where we will have school at a nature center for a week. It included a 50 minute nature journaling exercise that was the most peaceful and serene experience I have had in months. We each found a spot far away from anyone else, sat down on a stool, and write about + sketched what we saw around us. It was such a calming experience.
As I looked around me and sketched out the fall colors of the trees across the lake in front of where I was seated, I remembered a conversation I had with my Grandma Dixon on a summer day when I was ten or eleven years old.
"Christina," she began, "what color are those trees up ahead?" She was driving, and pointed to a cluster of trees next to the road off in the distance.
As we got closer, wondering if it was a trick question, I gave what I thought was the correct response. "Green."
"You're not wrong." she said. "But there's so much more to it than that. If you really look hard, you will see not just one shade of green, but many. You'll see yellows, pinks, and browns. There's always more than just one color."
Grandma liked to paint nature scenes and landscapes, and perhaps she was telling me this, hoping I would appreciate it in the literal sense. I did, of course, and often think about it, and her, when I am taking in a beautiful scene like I did today. But it also applies to so much more. People. Relationships. Life. You may look at something and make a snap decision based on what you see at first. But it's not that simple. And if you stop to look, you'll see that there's a lot more color than you originally thought.