"Life is about the little moments."
--Always said by someone who doesn't seem ever to notice them.
It's so easy to take everything for granted. Most people do. I live next to some of the most spectacular coastline on Earth, and near the greatest trees on Earth--the coast redwoods.
Both are miraculous. And I can say categorically that most people who live here take them utterly for granted, if not hold them in contempt, judging by the innumerable ways they trash and disrespect them.
The tree above stands amid a grand grove of 370-foot-tall coast redwoods along the Wagner Trail in northern California. Isn't it glorious? But if you walked the trail many times, wouldn't you begin to take it for granted and soon not even recognize that you've passed it? I bet you would.
Appreciation is an art form. It's a discipline, and a practice. At root it's a meditation, one that I'm constantly practicing.
Suburban life is so totally bland and meaningless--which explains sad things like extreme sports and "bucket lists." It explains conspicuous consumption, trolling, even Trump's illegitimate presidency. To fill the voids in themselves, people turn to thrill-seeking and destruction. Of course, the thrill doesn't last long, and so, like a drug, they take another fix, and then another, each time with a little more danger, a little more destruction, a little more mayhem, a little more chaos. A cursory glance at practically any social media confirms this in a million different ways.
Appreciation, on the other hand, is damn difficult. It requires constant practice, constant attention. We've been brainwashed to be consumers, which is the exact opposite of being an appreciator. The beautiful trees aren't noticed, even if you're looking right at them, taking pictures of them, and posting the photos on your Twitter or Instagram account.
Appreciation is quiet. It requires no technology. It is personal, deeply so, which makes it an act of introspection.
I can't and I won't live that way ever again. I shall instead continue honing my craft of appreciation and unlearn the addicting disease of consumption. If I walk the Wagner Trail, I will always stop to appreciate this magnificent tree growing under the mighty coast redwoods.