It was just moments after the sun had risen across Chautauqua Lake. I had completed the first half of my early morning walk and was approaching my meditation spot. Nestled under a willow tree at the edge of the water near the bell tower, it’s a spot where I have sat for reflection and contemplation nearly every summer since I was 15 years old.

On this particular morning, the lake was like glass – a perfect mirror for the sunrise sky. Still standing, I paused to take in the beauty. In that moment, there was nothing but the cool, crisp, damp morning air, the sun painting in pastels on the clouds and the water, and silence. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect gift to start my day.

Chautauqua Sunrise August 14, 2019

Yet as I took a few more steps to sit for meditation, another surprise awaited me. Sometime between the evening before and my early morning arrival, someone else had spent time in this spot. Something inspired that person to create a beautiful tiny sculpture on the wide arm of the Adirondack chair. It was elegantly simple, made from small stones, shells, and flowers. The creator had left it as a gift for whoever might come to sit here next. An intentional act. A gift of beauty. Giver and receivers unknown to each other.

Chautauqua Random Acts of Beauty 2019

The simple elegance of this tiny sculpture gift took my breath away. My heart smiled. My meditation was deep and peaceful. Some time later as I left to continue my walk, I wondered how it might touch the next person.

I soon began imagining what intentional act of beauty I could create that day. What could I anonymously give forward? What surprise smile might my gift bring to someone else’s heart?

So simple. An anonymous yet intentional gift created from what was available in the moment. A small act that quietly touched hearts and helped to make the world a better place.

What small act of beauty or goodness might you create today?

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