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A Following Atticus follow up – What fills your soul?

September 11, 2012 18 comments

Reading Tom Ryan’s book Following Atticus was just supposed to be a book review. I would read it, review it, and be done. Instead, I have found myself thinking about it a lot these past two weeks.

Why? What was it about this book that resonated so with me?

The answer came to me slowly, but when it did I was left thinking about it and my life and what I was missing.

When I was a pet sitter there were two things I loved most – the dogs and cats I cared for AND being outside with the animals and nature. While most people were at work, I was outside walking a dog. When people were heading to bed, I was heading out into the still of the night to care for a pet. When people were driving to work and stuck in the mindlessly frustrating gridlock, I was enjoying the sun rise, or the rise of a flock of birds from the Minnesota river, or taking in the beauty of the newly fallen snow. When I was a pet sitter my soul was fulfilled by the beauty that surrounded me. I was in awe and wonder most of the time.

The woman who hated winters in Minnesota grew to love them. The sparkling snowflakes falling on my nose, the crunch of my boots on the packed snow and the sound of my own breath as I walked in the quiet mornings were all that I needed. They fulfilled me more than any desk job could.

I got to see and experience so many things as a pet sitter, but above all the ones I treasure most are the quiet moments with just me, a dog, and mother nature. That’s why Tom Ryan’s book resonated with me. He got it. For me, and for him, it is being in nature that fills our souls. It’s a sense of connectedness and completeness.

In Following Atticus, Ryan wrote: “For the first time that day, all the clouds shifted and completely lifted out of the way, revealing a vibrant blue sky that stretched over the mountains, which were now a brilliant white, glowing under the sun. It was so stunningly astonishing, so striking, I was left speechless. It was so beyond definition or description that my heart ached and tears welled up in my eyes. Man and dog, connected in adventure and solitude, stood together, gazing at the world few had ever seen before. Something changed when those clouds lifted. Not ‘out there,’ but inside us. Our lives would never be the same again.” (Following Atticus, Pp. 138-139)

This one moment stuck with me long after I had closed the book. It reawakened something in me that had been lost when I went back to the corporate world – a realization that I am happiest when I am in nature. I am most fulfilled when I take in all that surrounds me with all 5 of my senses – a sunset, a light breeze, a snowflake on my tongue, a cardinal singing, the essence of lilacs. Those are the things that fill my soul.

So what about you? What fills your soul? What rejuvenates you? What inspires you?

 

 

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