Saturday, September 23, 2006

Looking Up, Looking Out

Being tall and often lost in thought, I have a habit of looking down when I walk − I like the view. When I want to focus − to think about writing −I get fewer distractions. If I want scenery, its nice to watch the world go by at that scale. The lighting behind me, falling on the path is lovely. I notice details that other folks quite literally overlook.

I see every stone, every crack in the pavement. I see the handprints that kids made when workers were laying the concrete. I wonder at how the tree roots broke through the sidewalk. I wish for roller skates, the old fashioned ones, when I’m on the smooth parts. I hear music in my mind and I walk to its cadence. Sometimes I watch my feet progress along the pavement.

On paths that I walk frequently, I find myself wondering whether there’s one square inch that I’ve stepped on every time I walked that direction. On all paths I think about folks who have walked before me. I picture them. They appear − the young aunt with her niece and three nephews going to town for ice cream. They are like imaginary memories.

Looking down makes the world move at the same pace as I do, and I’ve always been one who best likes the 30,000 foot view. But it also means I miss so much. I miss the flowers in the gardens and the beautiful, unique, and individual houses that stand by them. I’ve walked by some so many times and hardly recall a detail about any one of them.

One house has birds of paradise in a vase in the window. I drove by it not too long ago. How long had they been there? What else have I been missing?

Exotic flowers are art and symbols − colorful, rare, and seemingly alien − especially the flowers called birds of paradise. I love the way they seem to be always looking out, looking up. It makes me wonder what they’re thinking.

One shouldn’t walk past exotic flowers without seeing them. I need to start looking up, looking out, looking all around when I’m walking.

Life wasn’t meant to have only one perspective.

−me strauss Letting me be

8 comments:

Tell No One said...

Liz,

Wonderful to realize these things. Imagine going 5 more years looking down. I sometimes imagine going 5 more years not listening. Glad I'm realizing now, and glad there are people there to remind me!

Katrina

ME Strauss said...

Good morning, Katrina,
I'm so glad to hear you say words like wonderful and imagine! things are there to see and life is worth looking up for. YES.

Dawn said...

Life wasn’t meant to have only one perspective.

Hi Liz
Your last line catches me right in the gut. I know it to be true in my head, and I also know how more perspectives enrich my thinking, but sometimes I feel content with just one. Othertimes, I get hit over the head with one that sneaks up and catches me by surprise. I get stunned by a new way of seeing, something like you describe here so well. Those ah-ha moments.

ME Strauss said...

I know, Dawn. The same darn thing happens to me. One perspective makes things so much easier to manage. Until of course, we get blinded by something coming from another perspective. Oops! Hard to see where you're not looking.

Janus said...

I look down to watch out for the uneven sidewalks and because it is a good idea if you are following a dog.

If I am looking for scenery though I am torn between watching the ground and seeing the sunsets

ME Strauss said...

Hi Janus,
Yeah, sunsets are somenthing. They're worth stopping for. Maybe that's the answer. Stop and breathe to take in the sunset. Then walk again. :)

Ned said...

I look down when I walk simply to keep an eye on my feet, which may tend to wander off or refuse to come along. In that case I end up not looking at the ground, but rather, being on the ground.

Of course, if you never look up it's hard to know if the sky is adorned in sunshine or threatens a storm. And if you never look down, you might not notice the ruts, holes, and pitfalls ahead of you.

I like to try to keep both perspectives, although looking up can make me a bit dizzy.

ME Strauss said...

Ned,
How wonderful to know that you're still keep a look out at the sky and on the ground. I'd hate to see you tripping on a rut or getting caught unexpected in a rainstorm. Only rainstorms that we pick are the fun ones. Gosh it's great to hear you!