One evening in June, while jogging around my home town on my usual 12 km route and witnessing a postcard-perfect sunset, I caught myself thinking that the times that I tend to notice things around me in finest details are either while running or exploring the world through a lens.
Notice because you like or do something?
I began to wonder if this is because these are the activities that I generally like doing (especially considering that I do not seem to have as much time for them as I would like to have) or because these activities in essence demand one’s complete attention whereas the rest of your life may somehow pass by without a clear necessity to focus on the full picture.
I was running by the sea side, bathing in the yellow evening light. Midsummer can be truly beautiful in Estonia, even if the warm weather takes time to appear on stage like a pop star building anticipation by being fashionably late and well aware of being long expected.
The sunset at around 11 PM was the least interesting aspect about that run though. Instead, I saw young couples fresh in love, dogs running after their owners with selfless devotion, old people sitting on the bench and following the day roll into night. I smelt freshly cut lawn, the sweetness of lilacs and the familiar fragrance of pine trees that reminded me of my parents’ country-house…
Perfect joie de vivre moment
And suddenly it was all in balance and I smiled to myself foolishly, probably causing some of the people passing by to wander if I was feeling well. It was a perfect joie de vivre moment, even if this was the way that the sun went down every evening in this part of the town and even if things were not exactly ideal should I have allowed myself some deeper self-analysis. It is empowering to realize that things need not be perfect to feel perfectly happy.
People tend to use the expression “in reality” referring to a more conservative outlook or simply being skeptical about how things work out, as if seeing things in a positive light downgraded us to naiveté whereas being more negatively-minded made us more clever and experienced. What if the real “reality” is far more difficult to notice and what if doing more of what we like rather than what we think we have to allowed us to see things more clearly, in full picture?
Meanwhile I kept on running and the thoughts drifted from my mind as swiftly as they had appeared. Running inevitably has that effect on me. I kept focusing on the rhythm of my footsteps against the pavement, the colours and shades around me, the expressions on people’s faces, the wind moving the tree tops and the sunlight fading into the horizon.