When I was a feral wolf child in the woods, I spent my days really looking at things. I stared a dragonfly in the eyes while it glared back at me. I looked at a crawdad's feet, not just the pinchy big claws, but all the little claws on the skinny legs too. I touched the spiny fur of its shell. I noticed how algae sways with the river current and how water bugs scamper across the water surface. I listened to the birds singing and found the softest moss bed in the forest.
Why do we let this world of wonder belong only to children? Not that kids today have the requisite infinite boredom to explore the world so minutely. It seems nobody makes moss curl up with a finger touch anymore.
The other day I was entranced by the vivid blues and purples of my snowy world. I started feeling like I "ought to" paint what spread before my eyes. Thinking about what I "should do" takes away the beauty and just becomes a chore. I decided not to paint the colors and watched the fat snowflakes fall. It seemed like the absolute best way to spend my time.
The snow melted and the sun came out. In the brief moment of sunshine between weather fronts, I walked to the store, a distance just far enough away to be discouraging, about 1 1/2 miles away. I saw the word "blue" before taking my walk and decided to pay attention to blue things in my world: blue sky, blue jay, blue signs, blue dumpsters, blue trash on the side of the street, blue cars, blue coats. Oddly, there aren't any blue houses. Around here it seems they are only white or brick, except for one gray house and 2 beiges. Nonconformists. My house is both white and brick so I've clearly adapted to my environment.
I got up and refilled my glass from my blue water pitcher and noticed my next door neighbor's blue house with a blue appliance repair van in the driveway. Okay, even when I'm trying to pay attention to my world the obvious can escape me.
I think this is really the point though. How often do we really look around? If we're zipping around in cars or glued to our hand-held devices, all those blue signs go by without notice. Why would we notice blue dumpsters? How long has it been since they replaced the industrial green, banged up dumpsters in the business parking lots?
I walked past a woman in a blue nursing home uniform. She didn't look up from her phone. Hey! Let's interact! Join me in the real world instead of just the virtual one! Of course I didn't say that. I just felt a little lonely for both of us. Everybody is endlessly talking, but nobody is really saying anything.
I'm going to make an effort to take daily walks and to pay more attention to the world around me, not because I "should", but because it makes me happier than vegetating in front of the computer. Who knows what other kinds of things are out there waiting to be noticed?