4 August – Don’t just stop to smell the roses

Don’t just stop to smell the roses,
stop to smell it all:
fresh mown grass,
new cut hay,
the tumbling scents
of honeysuckle
and jasmine stars.
Stop to see as well.
Pause your walk to watch
a wagtail’s bobbing dance,
to laugh at sheepish grins,
applaud a strutting stoat
and gasp at kestrel dives.
Stop to touch the lupin’s furry seed pods,
feel for yourself a cleaver’s stick,
and welcome tall bracken tickling your face.
Stroke the horses when their heads
rise and peer over the wall,
stay, talk awhile softly
to each and every creature you meet,
enjoying their wordless replies.
Yes, absolutely stop,
park your car in the lane,
get out and cherish the chance
to remain longer and linger
at the sight of a rare brown hare
running or sitting
beyond the field’s barred gate,
or as a moorland sweeping barn owl
lands on his own pausing post
and locks his piercing eyes with yours.
Stop to listen too,
to hear every birds’ song,
from the sparrow’s chatter
to the blackbird’s virtuosity
and the curlew’s haunting call.
Then look up again
and truly notice
each and every
jewel like bird
that graces a tree
or visits the garden.
And if you hear the kingfisher call
on the winding river path,
just wait,
always wait,
for you might just glimpse
a flash of brilliant flight.
Don’t just stop to smell the roses,
take time to breathe and be
in the woodland, the water
and the wide open spaces
long enough to receive
the wild, unpredictable gifts
of God that grow and roam
and are –
here for you to find.