Our theme for the month of October is “flash nonfiction.” Writers were asked to submit pieces that were 250 words or less.

I like taking short videos of movement in nature—leaves rustling in a breeze, waves lapping a shoreline, water trickling in a fountain, flowers swaying under the weight of bees and butterflies. I hit record, and for fifteen seconds I stand still, and listen, and watch. 

You could consider it a mindfulness practice; though I’ve never thought about it in that many words, I suppose it qualifies. The sound and movement make me take notice of my surroundings, and the act of recording makes me pause and take it all in.

The videos also double as a trip down memory lane. Here, the waves of Lake Michigan glittering under 4 p.m. sun; there, the play of shadows against a stained glass window in a small church in Paris; here, the swaying branches of a pine on Calvin’s campus; there, the tumult of trees in a midday storm in Honduras; here, the ripple of a creek at Palmer Park; there, church bells ringing as the sun sets over Grenoble.

I have 230 of these videos currently tucked away in an album on my phone. Sometimes I flip through them when I need to feel grounded or when I want a momentary respite from my thoughts or the stresses of the day. 

I press play, and breathe.


  1. Courtney Zonnefeld

    Such a beautiful and appropriate use of the limited word count, Lauren—this l piece really captures the quiet feeling of a short, peaceful video.

    • Phil Rienstra


  2. Laura Sheppard Song

    One of my favorite “nature” moments was walking past a tree with delicate pink blossoms in the spring. The day was windless, yet tiny pink petals were steadily falling from the tree. I stepped closer and saw that the tree was busy with bumblebees, and the petals were loose enough that just the weight of a bee was shaking petals from the blossoms. I stood under the tree, watching as the bees pollinated, and it was a beautiful moment.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful moments with us!

    • Lauren Cole

      That is such a beautiful image, thank you for sharing as well!


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