I stood at the edge of the woods behind my house watching the squirrels, several sets, racing across mountains of leaves and up and down a dozen trees. Their noise ruffling of the leaves grabbed my attention as soon as I walked outside. As I stood there, over the space of about ten seconds, I realized that there were no less than eight deer standing in the same woods. They had been slowly moving through the woods, no doubt, to the place where our neighbor puts feed out for them. One second they were not there, and another, eight full gown deer appeared.
A few days later, I was out for a run in the neighborhood on a path that winds through the woods. The trees come right up to the edge of the path, and it feels dense and dark there even on a sunny day. Suddenly, off to my left, there was a huge movement and sound. I almost fell trying to get away from the sound of what had to be a very large animal.
It was a squirrel.
My heart took a minute to recover from what I had been sure was about to be a wild animal attack.
In these examples, I become aware that often the change that is taking place in my life is my own perception. Squirrels make a big noise (my hearing perceives big animals). Then, slowly, I see the little beings racing around after each other. The silence of the deer, even a small herd of them, moving deftly through the woods leaves me feeling safe and comfortable, but when I see them–I perceive just how many large animals have been able to approach me without my knowing. Thankfully, deer are not human predators!
We can see, hear, smell, touch and taste changes, but even our perceptions of change change. It’s probably one of the lessons of growing older, but we do ourselves many favors by slowing down and giving ourselves a chance to really take in what is going on around us and–inside us.