365 Grateful: heavens and hells

365-12-28-2016So, there’s a bank of clouds on the eastern horizon as I leave for work this morning, multi-faceted grays and silvers shot through with an impossible steely blue. Behind it, the sun-in-hiding smears swaths of rose and icy silvery blue across the sky.

That’s the view from my house – a towering range of momentary mountains, mist gasping skyward behind rolling hillsides of stark, barren trees.

There’s something compelling about that view. I’m transported to Middle Earth, I think, where Hobbits and Dwarves travel forward into adventure, and I think perhaps I would like that, too. Perhaps to outwit a dragon, or explore the depths beneath those mountains, travel up a winding, narrow path, cross over into something new, different.

I know with all the realism I can muster that I’m looking at a simple, albeit beautiful, bank of clouds roiling up over the river. But for the moment I’m transported into this marvelous otherworldly Tolkien-esque fantasy world. I think that life could be like this if we let it … if we allow curiosity to have its way with us, and train our eyes to look beyond our cloaked world to something almost too glorious for words … something we can carry within our hearts.

And just like that, my day is colored differently, if I wish it so. I am transported to an entirely new world, if that captures my fancy.

In Paradise Lost, John Milton wrote, “the mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”

It’s all in how we direct our thoughts, isn’t it? Today, I can choose to glance at a cloud bank rising over the river, or I can choose to gaze upon those fleeting misty mountains and create a day filled with dragons, exploration, adventure, and excitement.

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