Stop, Look, Appreciate

He has walked this road every day for years, but today he suddenly realises that he has stopped looking at the world around him; stopped taking in the various changes that each day presents. Headphones in ears and his eyes looking straight ahead yet seeing nothing, that is what the daily twenty minute walk has become. A journey listening to music he has listened to for decades, walking a path blindly based on the memory of the route.

He stops walking and pulls a box of Marlboro Gold out of his back pocket. The summer breeze brushes across his bare arms as he draws a cigarette from the box and raises it to his lips. Click, flame, inhale. Looking around he allows the scene to register in his mind. The trees proudly present their leaves up to the sun; birds flit around the sky, dropping quickly to the patches of grass and rummaging in search of food. He cannot remember witnessing the seasonal changes that led to him being able to witness what he sees. He missed the shredding of autumnal leaves, the organic carpet of browns and oranges. He had missed the naked branches fighting against the bitter winds of winter. He had missed the sudden re-emergence of life sprouting sporadically and at random, the greens of spring never following a set pattern, never repeating the previous year’s display. He had missed the journey and only sees the end.

A squirrel clambers down the trunk of a tree, sprints to the next, cleans its face quickly before ascending into the cloud of green attached to the branches. He had missed so much, and although his life was unaffected, he feels like he has wasted all that time. Sometimes it is the little things that add the colour to a monochrome life.

With a sigh, he takes a drag from his cigarette, corrects his trajectory and continues on his way.

Copyright © Dominic Lyne, 2022

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