A number of years ago I read a few books written by Zane Grey. As a boy I was enthralled by the stories of the west where the good guys generally won. But I read rather quickly or skipped completely the descriptions of the burning sun, the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the mountains and valleys and the desert fading away into the horizon, to get to the story.

A while back I discovered that many of his books could be downloaded free on my iPad and began to read him again. I discovered that what I had passed over as a youth was the story; it was what gave the newcomers from the east the ability to understand who they were and to re-create themselves. They began to notice things, become aware of their surroundings, meet the challenges they offered and grow into the people they were meant to be.

And I began to wonder what would happen in our lives if we began to really become aware of the things and people around us: the intricacies of nature, the laughter of a child, the face of a homeless person we passed on the street, the confusion on the face of an elderly person we love or the smile that lights up someone’s face when he is truly appreciated.

I don’t want to focus on the mundane and complain about the weather and the government, but rather see the beauty that surrounds me each day. It might be the sunrise, the snow-covered mountains, the majesty of a March blizzard or the smile on my best friend’s face when I recognize her love language.