Appreciating the taste of summer in a Hermiston watermelon

Appreciating the taste of summer in a Hermiston watermelon

“The habits of living day to day dull the senses — the ritual of getting up each morning, brushing your teeth, commuting to work, desk tasks, coming home, preparing for another day and heading to bed — so that I often cannot see the small wonders of the everyday world (grass growing, a cloud fleeting by in the shape of a bra, the child across the street learning to ride her bike; all ordinary miracles).  It is only when I am removed from habit that I can see a work of art that reveals a new mind’s vision, or when I am traveling in a foreign place, or when I fall in love.  And this seems a definition of love: the removal of habit, the ordinary world made foreign and wonderfully strange, life as a great visionary work of art.”
— Brian Bouldrey, Honorable Bandit: A Walk Across Corsica

I am spending my July and August months at home — no summer vacations for me.  But I like the message of today’s quote — that I can bring a vacation attitude to my daily life at home, step out of mindless habits, and look with beginner’s eyes at the ordinary things in my day.  And so I will savor the soft red flesh of this Hermiston (Oregon) watermelon, one of the miracles of this summer.  A small wonder, but precious because it is a seasonal gift in my everyday world.  It’s these small pauses of appreciation that can make an artful life.

“Commonplaces never become tiresome.  It is we who become tired when we cease to be curious and appreciative. . . . [We] find that it is not a new scene which is needed, but a new viewpoint.”

— Norman Rockwell, from Norman Rockwell: Pictures from the American People by Maureen Hennessey and Anne Knutson



Fun in Being Ordinary

May 15, 2011

There is nothing quite so ordinary as dishes drying in the kitchen sink.

Songs of a Very Plain Person
by Selma Parker

Sometimes I wish
That I were just a little ill,
So that I might lie — conscience-free —
Between fresh sheets
And meditate and dream awhile
And rest my tired feet.
But when I make my house all shining clean
Or pull a sled back up the hill
Or motor far along enchanted ways
I thank the Lord that I am never ill.

If being common means
That I can dig in a garden
On a misty April day
And smudge my hands with soil
To find the first green shoot
Of tulip or anemone;
Or stand amazed before a tree
That yesterday was like a gawky boy
All elbows, hands, and knees —
But today is a coquette
In a green dress, if you please —
Then I am common, very,
But what a lot of fun there is
In being ordinary.