June Photo of the Month: Stop and Smell the Flowers

Photo and writing by Heather Weagant,

I sat there is awe of the mountain standing tall before me, fields of wildflowers swaying gently with the breeze, and I thought about the beauty of silence. Not much was heard other than the typical sounds of nature — birds chirping, bees buzzing, gusts rustling the leaves. They are comforting sounds that calm the soul.

It’s not every day that we allow ourselves to take it all in. Perhaps we aren’t able to find the time to relax when we need it most. Perhaps we get caught up in real-life responsibilities, making it difficult to know when to take a break.

We have all been there. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not recognize the crucial need for fresh air.

A minimal escape can reset your mentality in a crucial way.

It was on that hillside, surrounded with vibrant colors and mountain views, that I realized my own need for mental restitution. Upon taking a new job this year, I had not prepared myself for the extra work that goes into learning new routines and new expectations. I was over-worked, under-slept and completely exhausted. It had been a while since I took the time to hit the reset button. I hadn’t used my camera in over a month and it had been far too long since stepping foot on a trail.

As I began walking through the fields of balsamroot, I could feel the tension in my neck decrease. My shoulders relaxed as I took a deep breath and enjoyed the sights — and silence — around me.

I stared at Mount Hood, watching the lenticular clouds change shape before my eyes, and I found my mind wandering away from daily chaos and focusing instead on the beauty within my reach.

It took all but a mile of hiking to reset every last ounce of tension I had felt for months. It didn’t take grueling elevation gain to reach views that boosted my soul. A simple walk among the flowers was enough to remind myself of all the good going on around me and the benefits of keeping a clear mind.

I encourage everyone to find their “happy place” in nature and use it as a tool to rejuvenate yourself. A simple view can be powerful in self-appreciation, healing and sanity.

Mount Hood from Dalles Mountain Ranch in Southern Washington as photographed by Heather Weagant, a part-time photographer, full-time special-education teacher and around-the-clock mother of two.