Sunday, October 10, 2010

Time For A Checkup

I've always liked this quote from Proust - the challenge to have "new eyes" as I go through life.  And this quote came to mind this afternoon as I was sitting at my desk, looking out the window at the world.  What do I see?  What "eyes" am I using as I look out?  Do I see "the same old thing", or is there something new to discover? 

So, instead of sitting here trying to think of something to write about, I'll try just writing about what I see - try to exercise a new set of eyes...peer out through a "clean pair of bifocals" and let something new touch me.

I see...
  • A tiny yellow rose gently leans against my window, surrounded by five sibling buds, ready to pop open.  On the window behind them, there are wet drops - perhaps beads of "posey perspiration" as the buds strain to catch up to their "big brother" before they all have to go in for the winter?
  • Elsewhere in the front yard, I see other examples of some plants still lazily lounging and blooming like it's still summer, while others are busily putting on their fall "coats" and getting ready for chillier times.  A pink foxglove and an orange sunflower definitely look "underdressed", shivering in the breeze.  But the trees - maples, alders, oaks, and poplars - look snug and happy in their red and orange and yellow coats.
  • I see green hills in the distance, crowned by gray, fluffy clouds.  But then, right across the middle of the hills, a band of white sunshine flashes and glows for just a few minutes, warming the rocks and trees underneath.  And as I struggle to find the words to describe this, it fades away as the clouds shift and settle into a cozier spot in the sky.
  • As I look at the trees, I see them rustle and sway as the wind sweeps by them.  But it isn't one wind - "the wind".  It seems like each tree and plant has it's own personal wind that plays with it:  the arbor vitae just gently sway with their wind; the wild rose bush shakes and shimmies like a go-go dancer with its wind; the maple laughs and chuckles as its wind playfully tickles it.  And the little crabapple tree in the lawn sadly droops its head for a moment - no breeze buddy to play with - and then a friendly gust sneaks up and says "Boo!" - and the crabapple shakes and giggles for a moment.
The world I see outside seemed so still and quiet when I first began to look at it.  But then I could see it was so full of life.  Was that life always there?  Or did my fertile imagination simply paint a story that pleased it?

"The question is not what you look at, but what you see." (Henry David Thoreau)

I guess it all depends on which eyes you use to look out of:  the eyes of the mind, or the eyes of the heart.  This exercise has shown me there's no question that there is life outside of my window, outside of me, that I rarely stop to look it.  Who's to say that roses don't sweat, or that trees don't wear sweaters, or that clouds like to snuggle, or that the wind loves to tickle and tease the trees, who can laugh and giggle?

I'd say it's time for some "new eyes".  There's a whole big world out there, just waiting to be seen.

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