Inconvenience or opportunity?


Every afternoon, I take a little walk outside to stretch my legs, clear my mind, and get out of the office.  Last week, I was in the middle of one of these walks, when it started to rain.  It wasn’t a heavy rain yet, but it was building up.  I looked around for some shelter so that I wouldn’t be thoroughly soaked.

I spied a mature, tall tree ahead under which I could take shelter.  I hustled over and stood under the tree’s canopy waiting for the rain to abate, wondering what I would do for the next 5-10 minutes.  I had no phone, no paperwork to keep busy, just my mind to utilize.

Well, as I am trying to practice more often, I began to look around and be observant.  I had passed through this spot and this tree on many occasions.  I looked at the tree.  It was fairly old, and appeared healthy.  It had holes along the trunk where a chainsaw in times past had cut off a large branch.

I looked into the hole, and then noticed a slight movement.  Little ants were moving in and out of the hole, and deep into the tree trunk.  I could see a straight line of ‘explorer’ ants moving up from the ground into and out of the hole.

The ants were fascinating – watching each go about his business in ordered fashion was mesmerizing.  Most remarkable were the ‘cleaning out’ ants.  A constant stream of cleaning out ants would emerge from the hole with a tiny piece of detritus.  The ant would cross the ledge, let go of the trash particle, and immediately turn around back into the hole.  Propelled by gravity, the little piece of trash would drop to the ground.  A pile of debris, the accumulation of thousands and thousands of tiny pieces, lay at the base of the tree.


I guess what was unique about this ant colony encounter is that it was at eye level.  The above photograph depicts the hole in the tree trunk.  I could easily watch these ants go about their colonization process – the circle of life in progress on a small scale.

The point I make to you is that sometimes the special events of life are inconvenient to our agendas.  The rain interrupted my routine walk.  However, the interruption created opportunity – a new opportunity to see something that I had never observed before.  The observation was unique, and taking the time to savor it afforded opportunity to me for personal growth.

I experienced the beauty of being in the moment.

I encourage you to not be negative each time you are inconvenienced, but rather take the time to look for the opportunity that has become available.  It may take some time to see it.  It will require slowing down, relaxing, and being observant.  It may just be a small, mundane thing, but sometimes the small things in life are the most significant.

How about you?  Is there an inconvenience in your life that may be an opportunity just waiting to be discovered?

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About John Forrest