Autumn Leaves at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Fall leaves at Henry Cowell State Park

“How beautifully leaves grow old.  How full of light and color are their last days.”

– John Burroughs


The Cosmos in the Carrots at the Farmers Market

Some of the most beautiful ideas I’ve ever come across through my travels are those of a Buddhist monk and peace activist named Thich Nhat Hanh. On a motorcycle tour of Hue, Vietnam, we made a stop at a monastery where he had once studied. It was a gorgeous setting overflowing with greenery and flowers and peacefulness.

It was there that I first learned about him and his thoughts on interacting with the world. One of his most impactful ideas is that everyone and everything alive is a miracle. And that the ability to recognize the miracle in the creation of something as small and everyday as a fruit or vegetable is an important step to internal freedom and happiness.

In travel, this mindset can often come naturally. There are so many new experiences for the senses which bring about a heightened awareness of the small wonders of the world. It gets a little harder to sustain this kind of everyday appreciation in the monotony of the places you know well.

But in the event that you do forget, I think farmers markets, in all their earthy glory, are great places to begin remembering.

A San Francisco Community Garden

It’s a garden that overlooks the city. It’s a place I sometimes go when I need to re-understand the miracle of how things grow. It’s a place I sometimes go to exhale frustration and inhale sweet floral and earth scented air. On a clear day, from this garden, you can see from the Golden Gate Bridge at the top of the city to the Bay Bridge at the eastern corner. But on this day, the Golden Gate was obscured and I watched the fog engulf the west side of the city while the garden remained vivid and light.