“Don’t forget to look up!” That was the tip I heard from an older gentleman while I was taking an early morning walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney when I was fortunate to take a business trip to Australia. I had been lost in an intense effort to take in every beautiful feature of the park, but hadn’t noticed the other walkers around me. As I stopped and turned to the man, he pointed up in the sky and repeated, “don’t forget to look up, you are missing the show.” It turned out the Gardens were home to a colony of fruit bats, also known as Flying Foxes. Most people would not associate the word “majestic” with bats, but the flight of these large and graceful creatures was truly something special.
We stood together watching the aerial wonder for a good five minutes before we began talking, all the while looking up at the bats more than looking at each other. He was walking to rehabilitate his heart after surgery. He spoke in very technical terms about his health and I soon heard an amazing story of him having been born in Vietnam to French parents who later settled in Australia. He had been a “flying doctor,” traveling by airplane to see patients who lived in remote outback regions of the country. He was eager to learn something of my background and what brought me to the Gardens on such a wonderful morning.
The conversation stopped abruptly when he said, “Oh my, I’ve interrupted your walk and I must get on with my exercises, too… Remember, don’t forget to look up!”
We only spoke for 15 or 20 minutes, but the brief conversation that took place quite a few years ago remains vivid when I am in a beautiful new place. I can’t help but take in a landscape and then sweep my gaze upward to see if there are any treasures waiting to be seen. I can no longer tell whose voice I hear, the flying doctor’s or mine, but the phrase repeats, “don’t forget to look up!” It is magical and it applies to every aspect of your life. Be open to experiences and opportunities!
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