by Tim Hauserman
When we explore Lake Tahoe’s natural surroundings our minds and eyes tend to focus on the big things: All that delicious blue water reaching into the distance. The impressive canyons and mountain peaks which drop to the edge of the water. The enormous sugar pines and incense cedars stretching high into the sky. But if we slow down, and quiet the mind, perhaps we can also find moments of joy by stopping to check out the little things of life.
Have you seen this:
The exquisite lace patterns of fresh ice on shallow puddles. The challenge of course is to decide whether you should quietly marvel at the beauty of the ice, or enjoy the delicate crunching sound of stepping on it.
The interior of a pine cone. Find the cool multi-colored bracts on a western white pine, or the amazing symmetry of the tiny hemlock.
The sound of birds. Other then the obnoxious caw of a Steller’s Jay, or the chesse-burger call of the Chickadee, many of us don’t know which birds we are listening to. That’s Ok, the sound is still as sweet. And if you are interested, join a Tahoe Institute for Natural Science bird watching tour some time and you will get more information then you can possibly absorb.
That unique tree. Perhaps it was hit by lightning and has somehow come back to life in a cockamamie way. Or maybe it has a bizarre crook or a big arm showing off it’s biceps (cedars are good for that). Any walk in the woods will bring you a tree with character and style that makes it stand out in the crowd.
Get your hands on a rock. Whether it is a smooth piece of granite, colorful metamorphic, or red volcanic, give it a touch.
Find the water. While locating a stream or a creek can be quite easy to find, what about a spring, or an unknown source of water? Find a grove of the water loving aspens in the middle of the forest with no signs of water, and you are likely looking at an underground water source.
And then of course there is always the lovely sound of dirt crunching under foot. So get out there and find your little piece of bliss.