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Increase your enjoyment of living!

By Sharon Courmousis
Sacred Rocks Reserve


April 15, 2011 (Boulevard)--There are times when being away and returning opens our eyes to unexpected beauty. True, it happens every year about this time; however, we tend to forget. When we live with minute changes in nature every day, it may be difficult to really see what is evolving.


As you drive around the mountains, notice the stunningly vivid yellow flowers, pushing up out of the ground suddenly. It is as if a mighty paintbrush has colored all available ground with a very large stoke. It set me to wondering…..

I wonder just how all those seeds know exactly when to open. I wonder how the seeds got there from the beginning. I wonder if they have a useful purpose. Can you eat them? Can you make tea or herbal remedies? I wonder how I can best capture this with a photograph. I wonder if bees make a special tasting honey from the pollen of these flowers. I wonder what is the common name or scientific name. I wonder about all the things I don’t know about the interaction of these gorgeous yellow flowers with the plants and critters around them. I wonder how many times I pass by a beautiful thing, oblivious.

This is also the time of year for the wild lilac, named ceanothus (someone told me). Have you noticed the purple hills? It reminds of a book I read as a teen, The Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey. Sometimes the magnificence of our mountain area reminds me of the old westerns.

In fact, a lot of our area reminds me of the old west. For example, the ranches with horses and cattle; the local Mountain Empire Business Association May 7th roundup, the slower pace of living, and neighbors helping each other- all bring back the flavor of a hundred years past. In some respects we are the most fortunate of people of California. We do have the quiet, the stunning wildflowers, wild weather with four seasons, and freedom.


It would be fun if our families and friends from town could experience this for themselves. Many times the too-busy lives, and fast pace of the city impede any enjoyment of nature. I wonder what could be possible if they got an invitation to spend a day in the mountains, exploring. Could they learn to really see?

The question comes up, “What are the ways I can learn how to see”? Here are a few ideas.

1. Slow down, slow w a y down
2. Get outdoors and walk around, take a Saturday hike, join a hiking group
3. Walk close up to a flower. If you don’t want to bend over, check out the wild yuccas in bloom right now. Look inside the flower. Note the different colors.
4. Take a picture. This teaches you to focus, focus, focus. All else fades away as you concentrate on the photo.
5. Smell it. Is there an odor? Good? Or not?
6. Notice what other plants are close to your flower. Do the bees visit? Or butterflies?
7. Take some time to reflect on the marvelous gift that nature is to you. Savor it. Delight in it.

My personal opinion is that our lives would be immensely richer and more enjoyable if we forgo the television for just 30 minutes a day and take ourselves out into nature. For many of us it is right in our own yard. This appreciation of nature has been a lifelong gift of my parents to me. They are forever pointing out some quiet beauty where I have not looked.

Maybe you can give this gift to your own children and grandchildren. The really cool thing about this is that through nature we connect with our Creator, and are blessed.

The Purple Mountain Sage welcomes questions from readers! Write to us at: The Purple Mountain Sage is Sharon Courmousis, co-owner of Sacred Rocks Reserve and RV Park, a 163-acre wilderness preserve and campground in Boulevard, CA, which is also home to Sacred Rocks Artists’ Colony. She leads people on personal journeys that transform their lives. Sharon can be reached by calling: 619-766-4480. Visit the Sacred Rocks Reserve website at:

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