Thanks to God's grace disguised as coincidence, we live close enough to Sam's preschool to walk him to school in the mornings. I absolutely love this; the exercise and the chance to get outdoors is so good for all of us.
As the year goes by we can see the season's changes in front gardens, field and roadside that become familiar as beloved faces over time. There's one tree in particular that I notice every day after the droppoff on the way back home. It's a maple that overhangs a border wall, giving me a quick glimpse under its canopy of elegant spreading branches dressed in spots of moss. Glowing green or gold, shining with rain or boldly winter bare, it's a small dose of beauty that warms the heart.
Maybe I associate it with the peaceful glow in the small accomplishment of getting my boy to school, or maybe the familiar but unlooked-for* beauty turns my mind outward to gratitude, but either way it's a happy place.
*and now that I've put this all into words, it'll be harder to keep it this way :-p
"Say your prayers in a garden early, ignoring steadfastly the dew, the birds and the flowers, and you will come away overwhelmed by its freshness and joy; go there in order to be overwhelmed and, after a certain age, nine times out of ten nothing will happen to you."
-- C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves