By Abe Villarreal

Sometimes I like to get to my work office a little early just to sit and stare out the window. I'm lucky to have one of those corner offices with two big windows. It's one of those perks that we call perks but that we take for granted.

Now that the mornings are getting cooler and the sun a bit less fierce, looking out the big office windows before the workdays begin is a bit more satisfying. The world is quiet at this time. It's just me and my thoughts.

If you sit anywhere for long enough, you'll start to notice things that you'd never thought of before. Things like the barely heard whisper that the breeze makes against the trees. Here, in the beauty of the desert of the American southwest, quiet and still moments are broken up by the pitter-patter of little rabbits. When nothing else is moving, you can't help not to see them and how they move in quick but short bursts, run, stop, look, run, stop, look…

The world sends you messages when it seems to be at a standstill. It might be the chirp of a bird who is talking to another bird somewhere nearby. You can't see exactly where they are, but they are there doing what birds do in early mornings when they are unbothered by a noisy society still at sleep.

I work at a college campus located a few miles outside of the city limits. To the west and east of campus are miles of emptiness. To the south is the Mexican border. It's interesting what one thinks of when uninterrupted by a beeping phone or chatty co-workers. I think of what could have been here, where I sit many, many years ago.

Living on the border is a complex and beautiful experience. People come and go, enter and leave. To some it's easy, to others it's not. From my office window, I see mountains a few miles into Mexico. They look like the mountains on my side of the border, and they remind me how most of what is on both sides is still the same. The people, the traditions, and the culture. For some reason, what is different is what stands out. We forget about the rest.

From my office window, on a cloudy morning, at the beginning of the fall season, the world has something to say and the longer I sit in the motionless moments of quiet, the more I am hearing.

I hear it telling me that there is a lot to appreciate about what I see around me and that I should take more time to just sit and take it in. It's hard to do that in the hustle and bustle mindset we have accepted as our normal. Just sitting here helps me feel a little more complete and a little more grateful that there are quiet moments when the world isn't too crazy and when people are moving slowly.

Having these moments is one of the reasons I like living in the spacious existence of the rural southwest. It takes a little longer to get to places, but it helps us appreciate what we get when we get there.

So, for now, I'm going to sit back and just look out my office window. I'm going to hear when the wind picks up a little. I'm going to notice when a furry friend makes its way across the open lawn. I'm going to count the cars when they cross the highway.

I'm going to be thankful that I have that moment to be thankful.

Abe Villarreal writes about the people, culture, and traditions of America. He can be reached at

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