How to Find Treasure: Remember to Follow Your Nose, Too

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My first two treasures in May came from opening my eyes.

On this last day of May, I give you a small treasure I found when a lovely aroma made me look up while I walked for my lunch break.

May you find joy with your nose this week-

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How to Find Hidden Treasure in a Parking Lot (Without Squishing It)

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My surprise treasure for this week came from driving my mom to and from her cataract surgery.

I took a day off about a month ago to help her get a new eye lens surgically implanted. We both hope this will help her see colors again and do her work as an artist better.

I had waited at a coffee shop for an hour or so in town and was driving back to pick her up from the opthamologist for the drive home when I took a wrong turn into the nearby Fred Meyer parking lot.

I smacked my head with my hand and then told myself that she probably wasn’t ready yet and there really was no hurry. I am glad I reminded myself to slow down.

As I drove around the concrete island, a small fluffy waddling caught my eye just at the front corner of the driver’s side tire.

I stopped.

At first I couldn’t see the mother duck because she had, for some crazy reason, taken her charges directly in front of the wheels of my fat red mini-van.

Then I had the attack of cuteness-overload that comes with seeing baby ducks following their mother.

I jumped out and tried to get their picture without scaring the fluff off of them. While I don’t think I scared them too badly, my pictures are a little less than I would like.

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Still. The waddlers were a treasure.

Later, while waiting on mom for another appointment, my young son and I found an entire duck-filled park hiding behind the Fred Meyer that I had never seen before in all the years of visiting that parking lot. Apparently that was where the van-dodging mother duck was headed.

May you find your own surprises this week and notice them before you squash them.

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How to Find Hidden Treasure

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Most of the books I’ve read about creativity encourage a daily walk. Apparently this is how many of the greats get (or got) their inspiration, and a recent Stanford study even found a strong correlation between walking and creativity.

I usually prefer to run, pound the pavement, and fly along (granted a slow flight because of my rather short and un-runnerlike build). Running lets me escape, working off whatever ails me. I will always love it as long as I am able to do it.

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Legs for walking or running.

But this year my hip told me to forget it, so I’ve joined the walking masses and found, instead of an escape, a deeper connection to the world that lends itself to creating stories, music and pictures.

Walking, in fact, turned out to be a treasure hunt where the doubloons show up as surprises when I am least looking for them.

Inside I feel like this kid whenever I find something small but grand.

Inside I feel like this kid whenever I find something small but grand.

At times my treasure comes in the form of new and fresh ideas for a story or essay I’m working on. Much more often it comes in the form of some slice of beauty I find in a bit of nature or a person who catches my eye because they radiate joy.

Here is one of my most recent gold coins. I almost stepped on him but instead jumped back at his shape and swirling colors. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a snail like this before out of doors. He begged a picture the second I managed to avoid squashing him flat.

Not only do I find these hidden wonders on the road, but something about the act of moving my legs and going outside cracks open my mind and rewires it ever so slightly so that when I do sit down to my projects, I am ready to create.

I think those greats and the Stanford researchers are on to something with this walking idea. I might even rethink how often I run and add more walking as the hip (finally!) heals.

This month I’ll share some of my discoveries with you.

May you find treasures all your own-

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