#60 Paying attention

They were easy to overlook, isolated in a corner of a small, nondescript garden bed.

I’m trying to train myself to pay closer attention. So I take a camera with me when I go out for my daily walks. It helps me spot beauty I might otherwise overlook.

One of my regular haunts is the library. I know the route so well I can read a book while walking back with my new treasures. Sometimes I can’t help myself. Starting a new book, particularly one I requested weeks earlier, is too delicious to wait the seven minutes it takes me to get home.

So far I haven’t stumbled over my feet on the way home, but I’ve missed things. The route takes me along two big parking lots and across an expanse of walkway outside Prospera Place, Kelowna’s sports and performance arena. Not much there to delight the eye or kick the imagination into gear.

Last spring I was walking back from the library, camera around my neck, when a small clump of iris stopped me. I mean really stopped me. I love iris, all the variations, the deep colours, the spicy fragrance. They’re a yearly gift. Divide the corms, and they show their gratitude with even more blossoms the next year.

But these were the most beautiful iris I had ever seen, and they were in a completely unlikely spot, in a small bed behind a bench, beside a parking lot. They weren’t massed and intentional. They didn’t create a big show. They just quietly glowed, the white petals edged with royal purple.

Iris

Up close, they were the most beautiful iris I had ever seen.

I’d overlooked them before, but that day I had my camera. I was paying attention, and the iris were my reward.

They made me wonder what else I miss, in my preoccupation or haste. So I’ve been watching for beauty in places where I tend not to pay attention: the sunny dandelion growing through a crack in a sidewalk, the design of grates the city puts around trees, the lovely curve of the staves around the garbage cans along the waterfront.

I’m finding beauty everywhere. There’s hope for me yet. I just might learn to pay closer attention.

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4 comments for “#60 Paying attention

  1. Kath Comber
    June 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    My two 2 year old grandchildren have taught me that – we took ages to look at the spanish millipede that we all consider a pest. They looked and looked again and then got on their knees and then onto their stomachs – so very precious! Just love it……….

    • admin
      June 9, 2011 at 7:01 pm

      We need children’s wonder to remind us the world is an extraordinary place.

  2. September 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Happy People

    We are not on the road to the by and by
    This trail’s experience is enough to make you cry
    Beauty’s magnificence in the smallest forms
    In convoluted flowers and bugs that swarm
    So what you look at is what you see
    You’ll even find beauty if you look at me
    Stay right here as best you can
    Then step by step emerges the plan
    And if you don’t know it, do not fear
    What is now hidden will someday be clear
    Just let each breath help bring you awake
    From each experience little beauties you’ll take
    And before much time you’ll want to pass it along
    That’s why happy people love to sing songs

    • September 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      Oh, Tiger – this is absolutely beautiful and true. Thank you!

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