As I write this, I’m sitting in an Adirondack chair outside of a monastery in upstate New York. I came to embrace the quiet and solitude and enjoy a bright – albeit chilly – sunny day. The Hudson River is free from ice, the trees are budding, the grass is green, the sky is a blend of bright blue and long, wispy, white clouds. There are daffodils making their first appearance of the year. In the distance, I can actually hear the sound of church bells. No joke.

This must be a glimpse of heaven on earth. I am feeling extremely grateful. The outdoors, the water, the warmth of the sun, the coolness of a spring breeze are all fuel for my soul, offering a mini-retreat from the chaos of everyday life. I breathe it all in, trying to absorb it through multiple senses.

The signs of spring are all around and this is just a small aspect of what I love about this time of year – and life in general.

What about you?

I know some of you are busy preparing for Passover while others are finishing the season of Lent and looking toward Good Friday and Easter Sunday. If there are children in your life your thoughts are on Easter egg hunts or perhaps surviving spring break or spring fever.

Some of you may be looking forward to a holiday weekend with family, food, and friends where you’ll reminisce over fond memories, celebrate your faith, and hopefully stay present and enjoy time well spent.

I’m reminded of my own Easter memories when my dad and I would get up at “Oh-dark:30” to catch the sunrise Easter Sunday service on top of Science Hill.

To dad and I, God seems a little bit closer when we’re outside.

Whatever your faith or your plans for the weekend, be sure to build in some time outdoors with your loved ones. Go for a walk, toss a frisbee, kick a ball. Enjoy the views, breathe deep, smile, and feel grateful.