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EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE
Are you all the time noticing things, seeing things that others maybe don't see? There are things to notice all around you, all the time. If you keep your eyes open and just watch where you're going, you won't believe the things you see, sometimes. Mostly it's little things, the little things that seem to be beneath people's notice: the way the feathered grasses grow in wavey patterns when there's a whole field full of them. The way the flowers burst out again when the weather has been cool for a week. The funny face that little kid you passed made at you just before he ran behind the door of his house. The way that cloud looks like a giant slab of ribs. Dinosaur ribs! Did you notice what that person was wearing? My god! what was he THINKING? Did you see that?

It's most fun to notice something when you catch someone else noticing it, too. Then you get to exchange that special look. You know the one. It always makes you smile, that look, that secret "I saw it too" look. Sometimes it makes you roll your eyes. Sometimes it makes you turn away to keep from laughing out loud. It's the sort of sharing that two people connect only in the moment for. Then you're back to your own observation.

Walking is a good pace for gathering moments of notice. They're not good for anything, well, not anything practical, anyway. But the things we notice fill us up. The things we find worth noticing, or mentioning, or relating to someone later. They all make up a pattern of interest. What kinds of things do you notice? And have you noticed how the things you notice change with your circumstances? I remember when we got engaged how I noticed engagement rings. When I was pregnant: there were pregnant women EVERYWHERE! And where there weren't pregnant women, there were baby carriages.

For a while, it was dogs. When we were contemplating the possibility of getting a dog, everyone was out walking them. Big ones, little ones, black and brown and white ones. They were around every corner and down every street, in every yard. Actually, they still are. That hasn't gone away, that noticing.

I notice how the pace of someone walking down the hallway toward my office slows slightly right before they come into sight, so that I know if they are coming to see me. I notice when people don't respond to my morning greeting. I notice that you cut your hair or got new glasses or lost a little weight. Sometimes I notice the things you don't say and it makes me wonder if you ever notice mine.

I notice the luster of the skin of my children, how it glows without light and the fine golden hairs on the backs of their necks. I notice how long their eyelashes are and how tall they are now, next to me. It's humbling to think I was instrumental in producing them.

I notice the changes in our village, the new paving job the neighbors had done, rowans full of berries, the level of the little creek along the snail trail. I notice the year-long gradual change in the pear tree allé. I notice the snails on the sycamore trees after a rainstorm and the arrival of the pied wagtails in the early spring.

I notice things out of place in my home. I can't understand how the rest of my family can't seem to see them. How their gazes just glance over, bounce off, bend around objects right under their very noses that need to be put away. It's uncanny.

What I notice most of all is how much I must miss.

What do you see, looking around you, as you move through your day? Wouldn't it be nice to have our eyes meet and share that smile?

Amazing Stuff: Sharpie Art on Styrofoam Cups
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mood: mellow
music: Rhythms del Mundo—Our Earth


Comments
(Anonymous)

I always notice the dogs regardless. I always also notice clothes - I love to compliment complete strangers when I see something I like.

And yes, those secret smiles when you share a noticing moment are wonderful.

-Heather

I do that, too. It embarrasses the hell out of my kids. :D

What a lovely post Liz. It is just like that, isn't it?
The light on the trees this morning, in the wee hours, and the magical things it does, kitties, washing their faces with their paws, the gentle bob of the asparagus fern in the breeze from the ceiling fan, the texture of the blended gloop that will soon be pina colada popsicles, the feeling of the fresh sheets on my skin.
Yes, there is much to notice, and sometimes when I notice something I nearly can't believe that it has been there all along and I am only now noticing it. How much there must be that I will NEVER notice!!

So much out there to miss and so much out there to notice! It's overwhelming!

Yeah, so what is with the snails and slugs climbing stuff? I thought they stayed on the ground, as a rule, until we moved to Berchshill.
I think the shared observations are what I miss the most about not having a job to go to, or meeting a lot of people in general.

I haven't seen slugs climbing stuff so much, but the snails really get around.

I think you need to get out more :)

So true! I'm working on it...

(Anonymous)

This is so lovely, Liz.

Sometimes I think I am very unaware. I am horrible about noticing things like eye color or if someone has lost weight. But I miss having my car route to work, all the little things I would notice as I drove. I know it's not quite the same thing, but whatever caught my eye was often inspiring. Good thinking time.

I agree that when you're pregnant, all you see is pregnant women and or/babies. :) I still love to see babies, and talk to them, especially if I'm without my not-so baby.

:) Sam

It's part of what I enjoy about my walks: because we go the same round most of the time I see all the little changes. And it's even more fun to do it backwards! You see all kinds of stuff you don't normally notice.

i'm mostly a glazed eye person, but yesterday i had a soft serve and did some people watching on a square in lund and i did notice what that person was wearing. my god! what was she thinking? :)

Fashion police! Fashion police!

(Anonymous)

Two things I am noticing right now.

I notice when the sunset is vivid like it was last night. I was headed in the opposite direction and I mournfully looked at it in my rear-view mirror for a short moment.

I also notice my transition right now. My good job has ended (Volunteer Recruiter and assistant to a after school program) and I am waiting to hear about my graduate assistantship. I will hear on Friday if I got it! If I get it, I will be moving 600 miles.

As I wait, I notice how much I do not know my true mind on this! I don't really want to move, especially short notice. But is that reservation enough for me to not want school? Kind of. But kind of not. I wait for Friday, to hear if what happens is really what I want. Now, isn't that kind of strange?

Joy

I hope you get what you want, whatever that may turn out to be :) Fun to have such a big thing to anticipate!!

(Anonymous)

Thank you! I hope I get what I want too. What is that? HA I talked about this with an acquaintance and I am almost to the conclusion that I will go even if I don't get the graduate assistantship. Operative word there- ALMOST!

Anyone want to help pack? ;-)

A truly enjoyable post! You have an artists eye and perhaps that is why these moments of notice are lost on others. They may not have that same "eye" so you help them to notice by writing or painting or photography. I love the line 'gathering moments of notice'. Beautiful!

That was a lovely comment, thank you :)

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