Check out my latest Expat Focus column…
An early morning hike in early spring takes us up the bluffs above the mighty Mississippi, and we emerge into the quiet of the early dawn.
We stop to catch our breath, and notice that we have emerged by the Interstate Bridge, now quiet in the early morning.
The trees have yet to come into leaf, and there seems to be nothing but grey and brown hues going into the far horizon; we appear to be alone in this nearly monotone landscape.
But then we spot something; there is one tiny spot of color.
There on a branch close by, watching the same view as we are, is one single cardinal bird, its bright red plumage standing out against the monotonous colors all around.
One insignificant bird, and yet it lights up the scene and makes a point of focus for us.
Today, maybe we can be a point of color in someone else’s life. Even if we feel tiny and insignificant, we can stand out in our own individual way.
The Mississippi River has many faces.
Our walk along the shoreline takes us really close to the water’s edge, and from here we can see nothing but calm water, reflecting the blue sky.
The river and the sky meet in a shoreline of sand and trees, and we are not really sure where the river is flowing, both banks seem to be the same.
As we stand and observe, we are aware of an intense peace, the only sound we hear being a slight gurgle from as the water passes over the stones at our feet.
We are warmed by the sun behind our back, and cooled by the water in front – we are at peace.
Early morning on a bluff above the Mississippi River.
We leave our hotel early and set out up a track between over growing trees.
After a long climb, the road emerges from the trees, and suddenly we see the Mississippi River disappearing away into the distance.
It is an awe-inspiring sight, and we wonder at the magnitude of the scenery.
Amazon have just published the latest in my “To Travel, Hopefully” series of e-books – Illinois; High Life and Flat Lands (this link is to the US site, but you can also get it on Amazon.co.uk and the other International sites)
Read about my adventures in Chicago, at a ski resort with no snow, and at an ancient monument.
Every once in a while, I can get away from the every day, the mundane stuff that I *have* to do, and connect with something deeper. Mornings can be a time like that – not the mornings when I have somewhere to be or other things on my mind, but times when I can just be still.
Recently, I was in Hannibal, Missouri, which is a river town on the Mississippi, and I went down to the riverbank before day break, and just waited and watched.
The river itself seems to glow at times like this, The ripples and eddies of the water flow make moving patterns on the water, and when you look at them they dissolve into one another and change shape and form.
Where I sit on the riverbank is right beside a riverboat. It is, I know, a tourist boat, but the lights against the glowing river make a pretty picture
The sky is constantly changing with dark pink away to my right giving way to a brighter orange glow right in front of me, and a deep blue overhead.